Showing posts with label Documentary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Documentary. Show all posts

Nov 29, 2023

Hurry Up & Wait: Monarch Documentary

I can sum up my rollercoaster of a year in just a few headlines, despite being pretty quiet about the Monarch Theatre and my documentary over the last few months. Spurred on again by today's story in the newspaper about the cinema, I realized that this game of "hurry up and wait" is causing some confusion about what's happening. 

Make no mistake, I'd love nothing more than to finally have news to share about the premiere, when it's happening, and how you can get your tickets to see the film. A year ago the expectation that this would be out in 2023 was not only incredibly realistic, I was also committed to that plan as contractually I knew it's when the film would be delivered. 

Unfortunately, a lot of the activity surrounding the Monarch Theatre and its reopening has taken considerably longer than expected, and contrary to some popular belief, this activity doesn't involve me at all. I'm watching from the sidelines just like everyone else. 

The 2 hour and 15 minute documentary about this historic, largely unknown movie house, "Your Cinema Needs You" was completed this summer following the long-anticipated news that the Monarch Theatre was finally going to be purchased. This was the final piece of the narrative puzzle that I had been waiting for. The film was then finalized, delivered to await distribution, and the plans were set in motion for a premiere that would reopen the cinema. 

This was roughly 3 months ago. 

I know better than anyone how unpredictable a timeline can become when a story is still unfolding. It's also why the wider distribution / streaming of the documentary has been put on hold until it can play in the Monarch Theatre first. The overwhelming local support to see this outcome is now seemingly shared by everyone connected to the documentary, including the new owners / operators of the Monarch. So, here we are. 

Put simply, I know it's taking longer than everyone thought, but as soon as the Monarch is able to confirm a timeline, I'll be shouting it from the rooftops.

Sep 23, 2023

Monarch Documentary: CBC News & the Homestretch

Earlier this week, Your Cinema Needs You was featured on the Homestretch on CBC Radio One following news of the Monarch Theatre's planned reopening. As part of this, CBC then ran a story about the documentary adding to a long list of features as plans for the premiere develop. Read the full story and listen to the clip from the Homestretch here.

Sep 20, 2023

One of Canada's Oldest Cinemas is Reopening

This week following the news of the Monarch Theatre's reopening in Medicine Hat, I did a follow up interview with the Calgary Herald about the premiere of my documentary, Your Cinema Needs You. The story was then picked up by the Edmonton Journal. Read the full story here.

Your Cinema Needs You Luke Fandrich


Sep 19, 2023

Monarch Theatre Has Finally Been Sold

At last night's city council meeting it was finally made public that the Monarch Theatre has sold and is now on track to reopen! You can only imagine the barrage of messages I've already received asking if I knew about this, what this means for the documentary, and does this mean the movie premiere is finally a go? Original post here.

In short, for the better part of this year I was aware this deal was in the works. I finalized the documentary in July only after this outcome became certain, but was still at the mercy of the news becoming public before I could say anything. It's been a long, long wait, but yes, this outcome has fulfilled the ending I'd been holding out for for so many months.

While dates are yet to be determined and there are many more discussions to be had, I am thrilled to announce that we've already confirmed the grand reopening event at the Monarch Theatre will be the premiere for Your Cinema Needs You.

More details to come soon.


Aug 28, 2023

Vintage Monarch Theatre Movie Ad Prints: Series 1

Part limited-edition print release, part official merch drop for my upcoming documentary, today I released a collection of 10 cardstock prints featuring custom-restored movie ads from the Monarch Theatre in Medicine Hat, Alberta.

Created as part of the production for "Your Cinema Needs You", the soon to be released feature-length documentary about Canada's oldest surviving cinema, these prints feature stylized ads spanning the Monarch Theatre's history from the silent era up into the 1980s.

Each print is 5x7" and is printed on a heavy cardstock, matte laminated on the image side, and features the documentary film logo and description on the reverse. These prints were restored from uncovered negatives, were custom edited and stylized for "Your Cinema Needs You", and each one specifically references the Monarch Theatre and just some of the notable films that played there - because of this process, this collection does not exist anywhere else.

The collection of 10 prints is available for $60 and includes a free pop & popcorn enamel pin set in addition to free shipping. Full details for this flash sale are on the Editing Luke Facebook page as of today (while stock lasts).

Prints in series one include: Silent Era 1, Charlie Chaplin, Silent Era 2, Wizard of OZ, King Kong, Gone With the Wind, Mid-Century 1, Mid-Century 2, Jaws, and Raiders of the Lost Ark.


Aug 3, 2023

Film On Monarch Theatre History Complete

With the documentary on the Monarch Theatre (Your Cinema Needs You) finally wrapped, it's now all about working out the details for a premiere and the much anticipated release. This story appeared in the Medicine Hat News today following the official announcement on the film's completion just a few days ago online. Full article here

Monarch Theatre Documentary Luke Fandrich


Jul 30, 2023

One Last Chapter: Monarch Documentary

It has been one year and seven months to the day - 577 days to be exact - since I made an announcement about the Monarch Theatre, a signed production agreement, and the new feature-length documentary I had going into production at the start of 2022. 

Deciding to uncover the story about a potentially significant old cinema is one thing, but you can't really appreciate just how long 112 years actually is until you find yourself face to face with what a single newspaper archive spanning that timeframe looks like up close - and worse, just how sparse the clues in those archives are when the subject you've chosen to focus on is a seldom written about single screen movie house in the middle of the Canadian prairies. 

What can I say though? I do love movies and the places that show them.

It's honestly been a dream to explore, document, interview, contextualize, and uncover artifacts in connection to a cinematic landmark that (let's be honest) the vast majority of Canadians have understandably never heard of before. There's something exciting about knowing you've found your hook though, a point that only became reinforced when just a month into production the announcement about my little movie was picked up and spread nationally by the Toronto Star.

Monarch Theatre Documentary Medicine Hat

As the months rolled on I was continually amazed at what I was finding, who was coming forward to share their stories, and what had seemingly been hiding in plain sight after so many decades. The story got bigger, the timeline extended, and I genuinely started to wonder when I was ever going to be finished. It was overwhelming and exhilarating. Exhausting and completely engrossing. 

And, oh yeah, was the Monarch ever going to reopen again? This news hung over the production for over a year while plans shifted, promises changed, and I continued to pretend that I knew what the conclusion to my movie would eventually be. As the Calgary Herald so fittingly put it in their feature about the documentary, "true stories rarely have tidy endings".   

So, here we are. After all of the teasers, updates, sneak peeks, rumours, changes, and behind the scenes snapshots, I guess it's finally time that I break the long-awaited news (and yes, I thought I'd make a meal out of this update too) the documentary is actually done. Scored, previewed, revised, rendered, cut, locked, and now awaiting release.  

Your Cinema Needs You is finally, officially complete. 

Jul 15, 2023

Filmmaker Eager to Debut Film: Monarch Documentary

My thanks to Chat TV for the feature on "Your Cinema Needs You". 

This is where the Monarch documentary gets a lot more fun for me again. First looks, behind the scenes, and a few more promos as we work out delivery and the eventual release date. We're getting so close to completing this thing! Read the story here.

Monarch Theatre Documentary Luke Fandrich

Jul 12, 2023

Mid-Year Visuals & Recap

Somehow we've found ourselves halfway through 2023 already.

If I'm honest, I've mostly been consumed by the ongoing post-production of my Monarch documentary this year, but there have been a few stand out shoots amidst the filmmaking. California and Nevada travel shoots took place this spring, a return of the hot air balloon festival saw some really strong engagement, and new highlights released from Detroit, New York, Los Angeles, and Washington DC all received their own features.

When I'm so consumed with a singular project I like to remind myself that there has been more going on than I realize. It helps to give my mind a rest. As the documentary closes in on completion this summer it will be interesting to rediscover my routine this fall and hopeful find time for a break. I can't complain though, it's always a plus to be busy and to be producing the content you want to be making. I sometimes just wish I could space it out a bit better.


Jul 5, 2023

A Documentary By the Pages: Your Cinema Needs You

When post-production on the Monarch Theatre documentary kicked off last year, it was difficult to describe what condensing a 110 year story actually looked like. I had 400+ pages of production notes outlining dates, archival references, transcripts, visual cues, etc. all in addition to the script I wrote and was working from. 

Monarch Theatre Documentary

Monarch Theatre Documentary

That's when we had the idea to line the aisle of the Monarch Theatre with the notes I had on hand. This is what editing a feature-length documentary actually looks like (about 30% of it anyway).

The reason I'm posting this now is because for months and months, it has felt like an unending battle to work my way through these notes. Some weeks I was a machine, some weeks I was lucky to shave off a couple pages. I became the living embodiment of the Titanic meme "it's been 84 years ..." lol. But at the moment of posting this, the number of pages that stand between me and the completion of Your Cinema Needs You? ... 9. 

Just 9 pages to go.

Monarch Theatre Documentary

Monarch Theatre Documentary

Monarch Theatre Documentary

Jun 24, 2023

Poetry of Coincidence: Monarch Documentary

The thing about storytelling is that you can't help but get swept up in the poetry of coincidence. There's been a lot of it over the course of producing this documentary about the Monarch Theatre, some of which resulted in major plot points.

I like to think about the spaghetti bowl of timelines that result in certain things lining up, even when they're inconsequential. Like how one day during production, waiting between interviews, I realized that one of the old local newspapers I'd found had the same date as the day I was shooting just from 78 years earlier.

Imagine the odds that would lead to me finding the paper in the first place, then sitting behind the movie screen of this very cinema and reading the movie listings on the exact same date one lifetime later. It was just a coincidence, but it's exactly the kind of thing that hooks you. 

Monarch Documentary Luke Fandrich

Monarch Theatre Documentary


Jun 5, 2023

Monarch Documentary: End Game

Post-production on my Monarch Theatre documentary has been through numerous stops and starts in 2023 in anticipation of the expected news about this historic cinema's reopening. A feature in the Calgary Herald in February highlighted this predicament and my "search for an ending" amidst the changing timelines I'd been experiencing in trying to wrap the project.

While we are still without a public announcement about the Monarch Theatre's future in Medicine Hat, Alberta, I have to admit that I'm not entirely in the dark about what's been happening behind closed doors. This hasn't made the wait any less grueling, unfortunately. So much can still happen despite things seemingly moving in the right direction, and naturally, no documentarian wants to risk the reputation of their film on well-intentioned speculation. 

If this already complicated timeline stretching back to 2021 has demonstrated anything, it's that a lot can change quickly. When production first started we were still in lockdowns, for example.

For what it's worth, this has been exhausting for everyone involved. I feel like I've been teasing this documentary for so long and disappointing people with the continued uncertainty about when they can actually watch it and what we can share. Point being, it's time to wrap this up.

I've come to realize that I need to end this story while it's still fresh in my mind and there isn't much point in waiting any longer. Whether an announcement is made a week from now or months from now, my biggest concern is in telling a good story. So, how do I strike a balance and end this documentary properly? 

I'm happy to share that I have worked out an ending that I think will satisfy both the story and my increasing anxiety. I won't spoil anything here, but this does mean that completing the final stages of Your Cinema Needs You is currently my top priority. 

I have to remind myself sometimes that I've already wrestled with just how much there was to fit into a single movie, already revised numerous times, and that a lot is going to continue to change surrounding the Monarch Theatre regardless of my efforts. Who's to say that there isn't room for a follow-up to this doc anyway? Here's to a story worth the 112 year wait. 


Mar 12, 2023

Finding An Oscar in the Monarch Theatre

You never know what you may find hidden in the basement of a century+ old movie theatre. And if you believe this ... might I suggest, for your consideration ... Your Cinema Needs You.

Ok, ok, we're getting way ahead of ourselves here.

A few interesting tidbits from the upcoming documentary though:

1) If you were standing in this portion of the Monarch Theatre back when it opened in 1911, you 'technically' wouldn't have been inside the Monarch.

2) If you were alive to witness the grand opening of this cinema, you would've had to wait another 17.5 years before anyone mentioned what an Academy Award was.

3) Even if you've never heard of the Monarch Theatre before, I have a good feeling that you're going to find it fascinating to discover how this unassuming little movie house became one of Canada's oldest surviving cinemas.

We're still on track for a spring premiere. And with any luck, I think we know the perfect spot. Want to meet at the Monarch?


Mar 3, 2023

Previews, More Edits & Fine Cut Progress

For those inquiring, the Monarch documentary entered another round of previews this week bringing the project another step closer to completion. Just over 80 minutes of runtime has now been locked as work on the fine cut continues to progress.

The final section of the documentary is now the focus (representing at least another 30 minutes in the 3rd act) - and about that ending, it does seem like the stars may be aligning for some news to break about the future of the cinema very soon. While nothing is official yet, it does seem like we're on track for completion leading into this summer.

Editing progress continues to be slow and steady, but we're getting there!

Documentary Updates

Vintage 3D Glasses