Starting in January, you won’t have to go across the border to International Falls to see movies in a theatre setting.
Fort Frances High School has acquired a license from Criterion Pictures to show movies at the Townshend Theatre as a fundraising project, including some months before they are available in video stores.
“At this point, we’re just looking for ideas and for school groups to say they’ll host an event,” said FFHS teacher Mark Kowalchuk. “There’s still lots to work out.
“The goal is to provide an inexpensive alternative for people that want to get out,” Kowalchuk said, adding it would be easier to access for most instead of going to International Falls just to see a movie.
“It’s not like there are many places in Canada where you have to leave the country to see a movie,” he remarked.
The idea took root when Kowalchuk began looking into starting a film studies course at Fort High. But the cost for royalties on films seemed high and he was directed to Criterion.
He found out that when the Townshend Theatre was designed, the idea of using it to show films was considered, making it a perfect venue—especially since it seats 425 people and the movie can be projected onto a 23-foot screen.
“It’s certainly a comfortable place to watch,” Kowalchuk noted.
He said they plan on showing all kinds of movies, adding there probably will be theme nights as well as double features.
“It’s an opportunity to show movies that don’t make it across the river, like ‘Men with Brooms,’” he said. “There’s classics we’d like to show, too, and we’d show movies adults want to see—movies they saw as kids.”
Kowalchuk stressed all audiences will be considered when planning what movies to show, from children to seniors. He also suggested deciding which movies to show would be subject to popular opinion—and even requests.
“We would consider letting people make requests,” he said. “We will probably book a few movies in January and February, and get those coming out to fill out a survey to make suggestions for [future] movies and themes.”
The hope is an arrangement can be made with the Fort High cafeteria so people can get a coffee between movies of a double feature.
Other ideas include planning potluck suppers around a viewing, or doing a catered featured meal that is appropriate to the movie being shown—perhaps a food in the movie.
However, food and drink won’t be allowed in the theatre, so leave your tubs of popcorn at the door.
Every movie night will be a fundraiser for some high school group or sports team. The cost will be somewhere around $5 per person, but that hasn’t been set yet.
The tentative date for the first movie night is Jan. 17, with the movie chosen sometime before Christmas.
To learn more about the Criterion Pictures arrangement or to search its movie database, visit www.criterionpics.com