Showing posts with label Medicine Hat. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Medicine Hat. Show all posts

May 17, 2024

Experience Medicine Hat: Monarch Documentary

Hey girl, I'm not just a good time, I'm a full page in this year's "experience Medicine Hat" travel guide lol (see the original post on @editingluke). My thanks to the team at Tourism Medicine Hat for the feature and interview about my documentary, Your Cinema Needs You in the 2024 issue of the new Medicine Hat guide out this long weekend. 

I know what you're thinking, "Luke, you've barely talked about this documentary - it's about time!" I couldn't agree more lol. Seriously though, it was fun to share a small part of this story and to help further promote the Monarch Theatre. The next time you're in Medicine Hat, Alberta come and see Canada's oldest, surviving, purpose-built movie theatre for yourself.




 

May 14, 2024

Front Page News: Your Cinema Needs You

Yesterday I got a text from my mom, and she goes, "I saw you on the front page of today's paper. You really are a big deal." Just totally glossing over the fact that I've been telling her what a big deal I am since at least 2002. 

Your Cinema Needs You Documentary


In all seriousness, I did a quick interview over the phone earlier this week about the final shows of "Your Cinema Needs You" and had no idea it would be front page news. It's as good a time as any to say thank you again to all of the local journalists who have covered the progress of this documentary from the first days of the production to the premiere shows to this festival run. Not only is it fun to share the excitement, but it's played a huge roll in getting this story to spread outside of Medicine Hat, which was always the intended goal. 

Luke Fandrich Filmmaker Documentary

Your Cinema Needs You Documentary



We've been fortunate to see a few of these stories about the doc get picked up nationally over the last 3 years, but to be honest, having the movie make the front page locally just seems so undeniably wholesome. You can read the full story here.

If I haven't said it enough, thank you for all of the support! 

You can grab movie tickets for the finale screenings of Your Cinema Needs You at the Monarch Theatre from May 30 to June 2 here.

Your Cinema Needs You Documentary



May 8, 2024

Finale Screenings of the Monarch Documentary

CLICK HERE to purchase movie tickets for "Your Cinema Needs You" at the Monarch Theatre playing May 30th through June 2nd. Evening and matinee shows now available!

After more than 2 years in production, a sold out premiere run, and an ongoing international film festival tour through 2024, the feature-length documentary about one of Canada's most underrated cinematic landmarks is returning to the cinema at the heart of this story, the Monarch Theatre in Medicine Hat, Alberta. 



The finale screenings will mark the conclusion of this multi-year project, and are an exclusive opportunity to return to the Monarch Theatre, experience the largely untold history of one of Canada's last surviving cinemas of the silent era from within its auditorium, and be among the first audiences to see "Your Cinema Needs You" while it's still only available in select theatres as part of its international film festival tour. 

Directed by Luke Fandrich, the 2 hour and 15 minute documentary traces the origins of the Monarch Theatre, the rise and fall of its direct competitors, and the cinema's evolution over 112+ years since it first opened its doors on December 21, 1911. "Your Cinema Needs You" features newly uncovered images, artifacts, and exclusive interviews from individuals spanning the Monarch's history, including former usherettes, managers, projectionists, moviegoers, and more! 

Book your tickets now to experience the start of the Monarch Theatre's next chapter.




May 6, 2024

Monarch Theatre: Taking Her Back to 1941

With the Monarch Theatre now wrapped in scaffolding and "Editing Luke was here" still up on the marquee from the premiere shows of "Your Cinema Needs You", I couldn't have come up with a better visual to demonstrate just how much has been willed into action over the last 3 years in a story about saving a movie theatre. 

With "Your Cinema Needs You" now returning to the Monarch Theatre for the final time on May 30 through June 2, people are understandably asking me, "do you really think you can sell more tickets after the 11 sold out shows of the premiere run?" 



Honest answer? I don't know lol. I have no idea how many people may still be interested, if we can get people to come see it again, or if any of the international film festival success will translate into views in the Hat ... but, I can tell you exactly why we're doing it. 

(1.) The success of the documentary is as good for the Monarch Theatre, as the Monarch Theatre's success is good for the documentary. If running a few more shows helps to further fund the ongoing restoration at the Monarch, the closer we get to regular screenings returning and the preservation of this heritage site and landmark in the long run. 

That was always the point of holding out to have this documentary premiere and reopen the Monarch to begin with - to emphasize the value in saving it. People who are now watching the movie at film festivals are just as curious to see how the cinema is succeeding after the fact and one final run of shows is ultimately the narrative bookend that ties all of this effort together. Put simply, it didn't feel right to have the film travel the world and then not bring it back to the cinema that it was about while it was now actively being saved.
 

(2.) As I'm looking to turn the page on this experience and move on to my next project, I have an idea for a brand new documentary that I'd like to try and develop. Instead of crowd-funding or asking for donations, I'll be using my portion of the revenue from these finale screenings of "Your Cinema Needs You" to directly fund a new proposal. So, if you'd like to see another story about an unexplored chapter of Alberta history in the future (which this new idea is), buying a ticket for this finale will go a long way in making that happen. 

So, think about it? 

Tickets go on sale Wednesday, May 8.

May 5, 2024

Is the Documentary Coming Back to the Monarch?

We're going to end this story where it all began.

Since the premiere screenings of Your Cinema Needs You ended at Medicine Hat's Monarch Theatre in mid-February, this feature-length documentary about Canada's oldest surviving cinema has been on a surprisingly successful international film festival tour. 



From Los Angeles to Tokyo to Stockholm, Your Cinema Needs You has picked up over a dozen official selections, nominations, and screenings across 8 countries (to date). With this tour only 50% complete and now expected to run into the summer we began to discuss what we could do back home to keep this momentum going? 

The Monarch 1911 Society is now deep in renovations and the documentary's screening schedule / release plans are only getting more complicated, but we found a window that will work. From May 30 to June 2, Your Cinema Needs You will return to the Monarch Theatre for its final local shows to celebrate this international run and to mark the end of this insane ride that began in June 2021. 

Tickets (which will include evening and matinee shows) will go on sale this Wednesday, May 8. 

Full details to release this week on this site.



Apr 30, 2024

Hometown Series at the Esplanade Gallery

If you find yourself in downtown Medicine Hat, Alberta over the next 5 months, have a look at the Tumbleweed Spaces that line the exterior of the Esplanade gallery.

Since 2012, I've sporadically shot thousands of images of Medicine Hat as part of a collection I've referred to as "the Hometown Series" and if you've followed me at any point in the last decade there's a good chance you've seen a part of it randomly pop up in your feedThe Hometown Series became so popular over lockdown that you may even have a print from it hanging in your home at this point.


This new installation was just completed last week and features 24 panels with over 150 variations from the series. It's also been a rare excuse for me to take stock of just how big this collection has become without having a specific end date or purpose in mind - it was always more about challenging myself to create and share something in the moment amidst a myriad of other projects.

As I described in my notes it's become a digital tapestry of my community, but in its simplest form, it's really just an excuse to look at the familiar in a less familiar way.



Of course, this exhibition wouldn't have happened without all of you and your support. It also wouldn't have happened without the amazing team at TREX Southeast who were the ones who nudged me to consider doing this and presented the opportunity a year ago.

It's amazing what time and a little creative energy can turn into. Thank you all for the push and for continuing to share the ride!




Apr 3, 2024

New Art Installation: Coming Soon!

Hey, folks! I've been keeping a little secret. I've got a free public exhibition featuring my "Hometown Series" going up in downtown Medicine Hat, Alberta this month. You won't even have to get out of your car to catch a glimpse of it. Stay tuned for the reveal as the installation is completed over the next week or two.

Hometown Series Medicine Hat


Mar 21, 2024

Monarch Documentary: Spring Film Festival Run

A month has passed since "Your Cinema Needs You", my feature-length documentary about Canada's oldest surviving movie theatre, ended its 11-screening sold-out premiere run at Medicine Hat's historic Monarch Theatre. 

Since then, I've been relatively quiet about what's been happening behind the scenes, but with submissions stretching back to January, I'm happy to report that the spring film festival run officially kicked off this week with the first international previews of the documentary taking place in Portugal and Sweden. It seems the feedback was accurate. You don't have to know anything about the Monarch Theatre to recognize countless other cinemas in it, even if they happen to be on the other side of an ocean. 

Monarch Theatre Documentary Film Festival

As an added knock-on effect I've already received several requests from other independent cinemas & film societies across Canada interested in screening the film. It's all promising. Word is spreading and much of it outside of my involvement. 

Because this has been popping up in my inbox a lot too, once we actually get some lasting spring weather in Medicine Hat I think we'll look at potentially running a few more shows at the Monarch Theatre again (if it works within the film festival schedules / rules). That just seems like the place to celebrate this and further support the cinema. Long story short, this is going pretty well so far.

Feb 20, 2024

Your Cinema Needs You: End of the Premiere Run

On February 17, 2024, the 11th screening of "Your Cinema Needs You" took place at the Monarch Theatre in Medicine Hat, Alberta. Amazingly, all 11 of the premiere screenings of this feature-length documentary were sold-out shows, meaning the entire premiere run of "Your Cinema Needs You" became a sold-out event that welcomed just shy of 4400 people back through the doors of the cinema at the centre of this story. 

The big question now is what's next? I have still been receiving messages asking if the documentary will return to the Monarch Theatre at some point, and the short answer is, yes, we will likely try to have this run in the Monarch Theatre again later this year. It's difficult to make any firm predictions right now as the next step of this release is a spring film festival run. The submission process has been an ongoing effort since the beginning of the month, and hopefully there will be some updates to share in the weeks ahead.

Your Cinema Needs You Monarch Documentary



As for the promised wide-release or the potential for a streaming option, this has been further delayed by the festival run. The strategy for where something plays, the rules of eligibility, etc. vary dramatically between film festivals, but the main criteria is that (generally speaking) a film can not have been released publicly elsewhere before certain dates or in certain regions to be eligible for official selection. 

Is the film festival run necessary? Not exactly, it is a bit of a "prestige tour", however it does provide additional press and further promotional opportunities to showcase the work. Because this production lasted several years there is a concerted effort now to feel like the film is given its due. The success and record attendance of the premiere run at the Monarch Theatre has also suggested this is an avenue worth exploring.

Your Cinema Needs You Monarch Documentary


So much time and energy went into finally making the premiere screenings happen that these next steps are really just the beginning of a new chapter. It's the reason why I'm not immediately stepping into another project or treating the end of the premiere run as the conclusion of this experience. There's still several stages of the release ahead, and not only does that take time, but with this project in particular, it feels like there are more opportunities to consider. 

Monarch Theatre Documentary Medicine Hat


Naturally, there will continue to be a lot of questions about what's next for the Monarch Theatre, how the documentary could play into that, and where else the documentary ends up now that the main goal of having it reopen the Monarch Theatre has actually been realized. I don't have easy answers for any of this yet, but I am excited to see this play out and want to savour this experience now that it feels the public response has been so overwhelmingly positive.

In short, thank you to everyone who has already been a part of this and who made the premiere run of "Your Cinema Needs You" such an incredible success. There is still more of this story ahead, still lots of unknows, but I can't wait to share what happens next.

Your Cinema Needs You Monarch Documentary
 

Feb 12, 2024

Monarch Theatre and the "Cinderella Bag"

In making the Monarch Theatre documentary, Your Cinema Needs You, there were obviously a lot of random things that I found that didn't make the final cut. There were also some entertaining cross promotions that unsurprisingly went out of fashion relatively quickly.

One such promotion that I found particularly funny was this one from 1957.

A local dry-cleaner was advertising the re-release of Disney's Cinderella and asked children to wear their "costume bags" to the cinema - essentially encouraging children to put dry-cleaner's bags over their heads to dress-up for the show. Shockingly, I couldn't find any examples of this "costume bag" promo ever running again, but just imagine how funny it would've been to see that theatre full of saran-wrapped children.



Jan 28, 2024

Documentary's Success Pushing Need For More Shows

The February screenings of Your Cinema Needs You at the Monarch Theatre next month will officially mark the end of the debut run of this feature-length documentary in Medicine Hat.

What was originally envisioned as a single premiere night grew into 11 screenings, the last 4 of which will take place at 7 PM on February 14th, 15th, 16th, and 17th. Any way you slice it, the success of this debut has created a new chapter in the history books for the Monarch Theatre, and has setup the introduction of Canada's oldest, surviving, purpose-built movie theatre for a national audience as the details for the wide release are organized for later this year.




I just wanted to once again express my thanks and heartfelt gratitude for all of the support you've shown me, my crew, this film, and the Monarch Theatre over the last few weeks. This feels like an ending and a new beginning all at once, and I'm excited to see what happens next.

Please join us for these final shows (in what I'm referring to as "the encore of the encore screenings") in the very building where it all unfolded. Full details and tickets here.




My thanks to the Medicine Hat News for the front page coverage of the the premiere of Your Cinema Needs You at the Monarch Theatre in yesterday's paper. Full story here.

Jan 26, 2024

Finding Vintage Pictures of the Monarch Theatre

Following the sold out premiere screenings of "Your Cinema Needs You", my new feature-length documentary about the Monarch Theatre in Medicine Hat, Alberta, new vintage images of the cinema at this centre of this story have been found. Deb Yates, the daughter of former mid-century Monarch manager Fred Tickell, attended one of the premiere screenings and uncovered some previously unseen images from her family album.

Monarch Theatre Vintage Pictures Documentary




I returned to the Monarch Theatre to directly compare some of these shots showcasing the candy counter full of Canadian-made Neilson chocolate bars, an Orange Crush display in the lobby, the mid-century seats inside the theatre, Fred Tickell walking down the street, and people dressed in their Stampede best waiting for the parade out front of the cinema.

Monarch Theatre Vintage Pictures Documentary


Monarch Theatre Vintage Pictures Documentary




Seeing material like this emerge after so many decades has been one of the joys of creating this documentary. More than half of the material that appears in the film was discovered through individuals just like this. So, when I have emphasized over the course of production that this is what elevated the story, this is exactly what I mean. You're getting glimpses into so many details that had never been released to the public before.

Monarch Theatre Vintage Pictures Documentary


Monarch Theatre Vintage Pictures Documentary




If you have the opportunity, you should come and experience this story from within the cinema where it all takes place. New screenings have been added at 7 PM on February 14th, 15th, 16th, and 17th. Movie tickets for the Monarch documentary available here.

Monarch Theatre Vintage Pictures Documentary


Vintage Monarch Theatre Pictures Medicine Hat Alberta


Jan 20, 2024

Your Cinema (Continues) to Need You

New screenings of the Monarch documentary, "Your Cinema Needs You" are returning to the Monarch Theatre at 7 PM on February 14th, 15th, 16th, and 17th! Click here to purchase movie tickets to one of these newly added screenings.

In addition to an enjoyable night out and an opportunity to learn about a largely undocumented chapter of Medicine Hat's cinematic history (experienced from within the very building that it happened in) I also wanted to also point out some of the knock-on effects that your support of "Your Cinema Needs You" are having.


1. Over the course of production more than 50 headlines about this documentary (and the Monarch's story) have been generated and shared across Canada. This awareness about the new significance of the Monarch Theatre is a big step forward in this next chapter and is bringing national attention to a landmark that most people have never even heard of before.

2. The extensive research that went into this documentary is already showing potential to aid in future grants, designations, and direct supports to further the plans for the Monarch Theatre's revitalization. The popularity of the documentary has helped to reveal new clues and contacts just from people talking about the movie and spreading the word (and this is before we've even finalized plans for the Canada-wide streaming release). This is a huge bonus in the roll that this documentary can play in the future, that honestly, we hadn't even really thought much about until the premieres happened.



3. Contrary to popular belief, this documentary was not "actually" a local production. A professional, feature-length budget had to be greenlit from out of province to even be able to dedicate this much time and energy to a film that involved a cast and crew of more than 50 individuals. None of the funding to produce this was local.

The reason I want to point this out, is because deciding to tell a Medicine Hat story that we believed would resonate with a wider audience (at this scale) was seen as a risk. The success of this project, the sold out premieres, etc. are all part of a proof of concept that show that taking these risks are worth it, viable, and something that needs to happen more often. Not just because these stories are culturally significant, but because they can be just as entertaining too! You've already helped to prove this!

In short, your support of Your Cinema Needs You is having a lot of impact outside of just Medicine Hat. There is a lot more happening behind the scenes then people realize, and it's opening a lot of doors that were previously closed.

That's a lot of good coming from people just showing up - and a really good sign for the future of the Monarch Theatre stemming from the success of a single movie. I can't say it enough - thank you for being there and thank you for making this happen!

Jan 19, 2024

February Screenings of the Monarch Documentary

CLICK HERE to purchase movie tickets for the screenings of "Your Cinema Needs You" at the Monarch Theatre at 7 PM on February 14th, 15th, 16th, and 17th.

After more than 2 years in production, this feature-length documentary about one of Canada's most underrated cinematic landmarks is back by popular demand to screen within the very cinema at the heart of this story, the Monarch Theatre in Medicine Hat, Alberta.



Following the 7 sold out premiere shows in Medicine Hat, these new February screenings of the documentary are an exclusive opportunity to return to the Monarch Theatre since it closed its doors, experience the largely untold history of one of Canada's last surviving cinemas of the silent era from within its auditorium, and be among the very first to see "Your Cinema Needs You" before its Canada-wide release later in 2024.

Directed by Luke Fandrich, the 2 hour and 15 minute documentary traces the origins of the Monarch Theatre, the rise and fall of its direct competitors, and the cinema's evolution over 112 years since it first opened its doors on December 21, 1911. "Your Cinema Needs You" features newly uncovered images, artifacts, and exclusive interviews from individuals spanning the Monarch's history, including former usherettes, managers, projectionists, moviegoers, and more!

Book your tickets now to experience the start of the Monarch Theatre's next chapter.

Jan 16, 2024

New Screenings Announced For February

Following the 7th sold out premiere screening of Your Cinema Needs You, I thought I should probably grab a quick picture as the Monarch Theatre emptied one last time. Two and a half years of bringing this documentary across the finish line had finally been realized in this moment and it hit me as it all wrapped just how crazy this had actually been.

The success of the premiere solidified two things in my mind. 1. The ambitiousness of the documentary had paid off; the film worked (and) 2. Being able to see the documentary about the Monarch Theatre in the Monarch Theatre had only elevated the entire experience.



I honestly didn't think we'd find the opportunity to do this again given how many moving pieces there are regarding the wide release, but while this is still in the works, I'm excited to finally share that we've secured new screening dates at the Monarch next month!

7PM on February 14th, 15th, 16th, and 17th (Wednesday to Saturday). Make it a date night or just an excuse to get out and see the Monarch again. Whatever the reasoning, you're sure to come away with an appreciation for what's been hiding in our own backyard this entire time.

Tickets for these new screenings of Your Cinema Needs You at the historic Monarch Theatre will become available starting at 8AM this Friday.

Jan 12, 2024

The Last Remnant of the Roxy Theatre

A few more clues have emerged following the premiere screenings of my documentary "Your Cinema Needs You" at the Monarch Theatre in Medicine Hat, Alberta.

The owners of the building that once housed the Roxy Theatre in downtown Medicine Hat were in attendance at one of the debut screenings and sent me a message about something they'd found in the basement of their building. Keeping in mind that the Roxy closed in 1960 and was immediately renovated, it seemed incredibly unlikely that anything from its history had remained after so many decades and businesses that followed.



But sure enough, tucked away in the very back corner of the basement was one last remnant. A single lamp house from one of the Roxy's projectors has been hiding out here for over 60 years since the cinema was dismantled. To add to this, I found a picture of the Roxy's projection room featuring who we believe to be Bev Botter's father, Tony Botter. Bev appeared in my documentary and shared her memories of her father when he was a projectionist.





So, within the span of a week an image of this projector when it was newly installed at the Roxy Theatre in 1941 emerged and I was able to see that a piece of it had still been hiding in the same building all of these decades later.

This is essentially how the documentary research progressed over 2 years throughout the entire production. Little clues would eventually link up and paint a larger picture of what had happened. And if you're now thinking I'd really like to see "Your Cinema Needs You" at the Monarch for myself - good news! I'll be formally announcing new February screening dates next week.