Julia Marchese’s love of independent cinemas and movie theatres is no secret. Her passion for the New Beverly cinema in LA is absolutely legendary, and her documentary about that hallowed place, Out Of Print, will be playing as part of Scalarama around the UK.
But now she needs your help. Your GoFundMe help. For her next project, Marchese wants to tour the UK with her film and make a series of mini-documentaries about some of our greatest indie cinemas, places like The Prince Charles Cinema, Genesis in Whitechapel, Duke Of York’s in Brighton, the CCA in Glasgow and the Curzon in Clevedon.
We spoke to Marchese about her campaign and why independent cinemas need to be celebrated.
How did the GoFundMe campaign come about?
Out of Print is playing 5 dates during Scalarama this September, an annual, national celebration of film across the UK.
I love what is going on right now cinema wise in Britain, and I’ve been wanting to document it, so this trip will actually kill two birds with one stone – allowing me to join Out of Print across the country as it shows, and also to begin a new project.
Independent cinemas are my passion, and I have a dream to document as many of them around the world as possible. I want to create a series of mini docs while I am in the UK, each on focusing on a single cinema. I have several cinemas that are interested in being interviewed for the project so far!
What will you be looking at in these mini documentaries?
I want to see that cinema through the eyes of the people who love it most – the employees and regulars. Hear the history and specialness of that cinema from their own lips. Capture a snapshot of that particular place, at that particular time.
What is it that independent cinemas have that multiplexes don’t? Why do you think it’s important to celebrate them?
The thing I love most about independent cinema is the community that every single one has.
When you have a small theater, with dedicated staff and regulars, all who love film with a passion, they become more than just people playing a movie or watching a movie. Independent cinemas understand that you don’t come to a movie to just pay, watch, and walk out, but to talk about the movie too – that’s an important part of the whole experience, in my opinion. Instead of the anonymity that one feels in a multiplex, independent cinemas feel like a group experiencing a film together. Films have always been made to view with an audience.
I think independent cinemas have always been taken for granted – that they will always be there, whether you attend or not. But as the last 5 years has shown, that’s not the case. Dozens of cinemas closed because of the digital changeover – including the 2 oldest cinemas in the United States. Every one that closes breaks my heart, and I wish I could have documented them all before they shut for good. I want to hear about all the wonderful things people loved about that cinema. They are generally overlooked, so I want to shine the spotlight on them.
How did your love of indie cinemas start?
I was born and raised in Las Vegas, which is (still!) a cinematic wasteland. No indie or art cinemas at all. But I still managed to see Rocky Horror Picture Show at midnight a dozen or more time growing up, and that experience stuck with me. The energy of those shows, where everyone there was so into the movie but into the audience interaction more than anything. It was a whole new way to watch a movie, and I loved it. (Rocky Horror is still one of my very favorite films! Tim Curry ROCKS!)
When I moved to Los Angeles in 2001, I found the New Beverly Cinema (the cinema Out of Print focuses on) and it had the feeling of a midnight movie at every screening. The audiences were super stoked to see the film, and everybody had a really good time. The first double feature I ever saw at the New Bev was a Goonies and Gremlins double, and there was a small group of Corey Feldman fans in the house who cheered for him every time he came on screen. I was so delighted.
You mentioned on your Go Fund Me page that you’re particularly excited for Out of Print to play in the UK, could you tell us why?
I was a MASSIVE Beatles fan in high school, so my Anglophilia started there, and then I studied my junior year of college at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, and absolutely fell in love with the UK. It feels like home to me, and I miss it so much every day.
The cinema going on in the UK right now – pop-ups, secret film clubs, and lots of mobile cinema to rural communities throughout England, Scotland and Wales and I am so excited to check them all out!!
The fact that my film is playing at several cities around the UK – in 35mm! – is pretty damn amazing. But even beyond that, it is premiering at my favorite cinema in the world (The Prince Charles Cinema) in my favorite city in the world (London)! AND I might get to go? It’s mind blowing. It will be the happiest Julia there has ever been.
What can Scalarama attendees expect from Out of Print?
Lots of grooviness, people talking very earnestly about cinema, and a dancing hot dog with a beautiful golden bun, among other things. And bloopers. Because every film should have bloopers during their end credits.
What has been your greatest/weirdest/most amazing moment at an independent cinema screening?
Man, that’s a hard one. I got a whole lot of great, weird AND amazing moments. I feel very lucky that way.
My last birthday at the New Bev I programmed a John Waters double feature (He’s one of my FAVES) of Hairspray and Cry Baby. My parents, best friend and boyfriend, plus several other friends were there, and we ate cake and dressed up and I had amazing hair hopper hair. (Feathered, not ratted, thank you!) And we danced in the aisles to every single dance in the film, including the Pony, Bug, Roach, Mashed Potato and my personal favorite – The Madison. It was pretty damn rad.