Enchanting experience

The Screening Room is launching a guest speaker series to give indie films a Kingston context

The Chauvet Cave contains drawings that have been sealed away for around 25,000 years.
The Chauvet Cave contains drawings that have been sealed away for around 25,000 years.
Credit: 
Supplied
Cave of Forgotten Dreams is the latest documentary by Werner Herzog, exploring cave art from over 30,000 years ago. The drawings are twice as old as previous discoveries.
Cave of Forgotten Dreams is the latest documentary by Werner Herzog, exploring cave art from over 30,000 years ago. The drawings are twice as old as previous discoveries.
Credit: 
Supplied

Wendy Huot, had big plans to update the Screening Room when she bought the theatre in July. She’s launching a new initiative on Sunday.

The Screening Room speaker series will pair films with relevant Kingston experts.

“It’s a pretty straightforward idea,” Huot said. “It’s something that will enrich the experience of watching the film, but it also gives the film a local context.”

The series premieres with fourth year Queen’s classics student Marla MacKinnon who will present a talk on her research. It focuses on rock art in Wyoming and Peterborough. The screening of Cave of Forgotten Dreams, a film exploring France’s Chauvet Cave, home to the oldest visual art created by humans, will follow.

“It sort of grounds the movie to a specific place that we’re all in,” Huot said.

While Huot is pairing the film and the speaker, she said the speaker isn’t offering an introduction and may not have even seen the film.

She’s also looking to update the concession stand with a popcorn contest.

“Through the month of September, I’m going to be encouraging people to submit popcorn recipe ideas to the theatre,” she said. “We’re trying to offer a new house blend.”

The theatre currently offers the typical popcorn flavourings like dill pickle, ketchup and white cheddar.

The winner of the contest will be decided by a panel of judges and will win a year’s supply of popcorn. Huot said the winner can just come in, get their popcorn and leave without seeing a film.

Huot took over the Screening Room on July 29 and was splitting her time between the theatre and her job as a Queen’s librarian.

“I’ve actually quit my job at the library,” Huot said. “When I first took ownership, I was reluctant to fully leave the librarian position at Queen’s. It’s a professional role and that’s a pretty huge step.”

Huot finished at Queen’s on Sept. 2 and has since been focusing on theatre improvements like a new Dolby sound system in both theatres.

Movie theatres are booming in Kingston, with the recent announcement of a new Cineplex near the 401 highway. But Huot said she’s not nervous about the new competition.

“Any film you can watch here you could download online if all you’re interested in is seeing the film at no cost. But, what we like to do is provide the ideal experience,” she said. “You’re providing this evening entertainment. It’s an ideal environment, the lights are dark, there’s no distractions, a big screen, full sound.

“If you have people kicking around your apartment and distractions, you’re less likely to have that memorable experience, to be enchanted.”

The Screening Room’s guest speaker series begins on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $9 for adults and $8 for students and seniors.

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