From homemade movies to the silver screen, films shape us more than we know as individuals and as a culture. I was discussing this topic in a recent interview for Creative Guts, with Angie Lane, the Executive Director of Red River Theatres in Concord. We had an awesome discussion about independent movie theaters and why they need our support.
Red River Theatres opened its doors October 19, 2007, after a 7-year community effort and a $1.8 million capital campaign. Founding volunteers named the organization after “Red River,” a classic, 1948 Western starring John Wayne, in which the lead characters undertake an epic, nearly impossible, but ultimately successful, journey. The name seemed suitable to the challenge the community faced in creating an arthouse cinema from scratch in the state capital. (Source: The Red River Theatres website)
The Red River Theatre is a non-profit, providing the community with films and events that entertain, educate, build community, and bring the art of film to all audiences. They present newly-released films, classic films, film discussions, family events, and cult favorites. This diversity of features means there is something for everyone at this local cinema.
The Pursuit of Happyness
Angie Lane has been the Executive Director of the Red River Theatres for five years and seen first hand how this indie cinema has impacted Concord and the larger New Hampshire community. In bringing lesser known films to these audiences, and involving panel discussions or special events to pair with these films, people are connecting and discussing things that make them feel or things that make them want to enact change. Angie’s joy about this art form impacting the community is abundant:
Take film and at the base level it’s about entertainment and enjoyment. At a different end it’s about people connecting and taking in these films and then taking it into the world and changing the way they look at the world or changing the way they actually think about themselves in the world!”
Return of the Jedi
Like many arts organizations, Red River Theatres had to close its doors temporarily during the pandemic. But like a trusty sequel, they have returned! Angie discussed the reopening:
It has been so wonderful to welcome the community back after being closed for 15 months! We are currently only open Fri/Sat/Sun and hope to fully reopen by the fall. The biggest factor is the supply chain. There are just not enough movies being released for us to be able to sustain being open 7-days/week. The phased reopening also means we are not immediately selling concessions but again this may change by August. Like other businesses we are struggling to staff the theater and while we are currently staffed well (for 3 days a week) we will be looking for more staff at all levels by the Fall.”
Between the Folds
As I’ve mentioned in many of these articles since the start of the pandemic, arts organizations and small business artists are often overlooked as essential. However, so much of what is in our world is because some kind of artist created it for you to watch, hear, read, taste, wear, play, sit on or in, and so on. Making sure we invest in our local arts is vital to ensuring the lovely atmosphere of New Hampshire continues. Angie believes in this too:
I think the biggest thing I want to impart to the public is that while the Arts are slowly returning, the sector suffered extreme financial losses. I would encourage people to give what they can (if they can!) to the arts organizations they love. If anything the pandemic has given us perspective on what we truly value and the ability to connect through the arts is one of them.”
If you’re pumped to go check out some films at Red River Theatres, here is what is currently up on the big screen. I hope you enjoy your film and connecting with your neighbors in this beautiful cinema.