The Champlain Valley Film Society will celebrate its 200th movie on Saturday, March 21 with a free showing of The Theory of Everything at the Whallonsburg Grange Hall. This highly acclaimed film was nominated for 5 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay; Eddie Redmayne won the award for Best Actor.
The Society (CVFS) showed its first film, Shakespeare in Love, in the summer of 2003. Co-founder David Reuther reflects, “We want to thank our loyal audience for their tremendous support over the last 11 years. We never imagined we’d reach this milestone. When Larry Barns, Thurston Clarke, Bill James, and I launched the Film Society we wanted to show current, classic, foreign, and independent films that weren’t available in the Plattsburgh. And we thought there’s something special about seeing a film on a big screen with an audience instead of by yourself at home.”
After showing six movies in its inaugural summer, CVFS spent the next two years showing films outdoors, behind the Essex Inn and at Ballard Park in Westport. In 2006, CVFS more than tripled the number of screenings. They also began inviting people connected to the film to introduce their movies and answer questions afterward. Since then, CVFS has featured more than a dozen speakers, including Captain Richard Phillips for Captain Phillips, Oscar-nominated director Courtney Hunt for Frozen River, and Westport native and director Addison Mehr for Fort Apache.
In 2012, CVFS began showing all of its movies at the Whallonsburg Grange Hall. Former president Kathryn Reinhardt managed that transition. “We installed an HD projector, a movie screen that’s twice the size of the old one, and a digital sound system. And with our new popcorn machine, we offer a true movie theater experience.”
The Society is now in the process of merging with the Whallonsburg Civic Association, which manages the Grange, and will call itself the Champlain Valley Film Series.
President Sue Reaser invites everyone to celebrate the 200th movie milestone together. “We are thrilled to welcome so many people who love going to the movies in this community. Besides the strong support from people in Essex, Westport, Willsboro, and Elizabethtown, a significant part of our audience travels to our shows from Keene, Keene Valley, Jay, Moriah, and Plattsburgh. We celebrate your love of the movies with the free screening of The Theory of Everything on March 21.”
For the most up-to-date schedule, and to watch previews of each movie, visit www.cvfilms.org.