Free films return to depot museum next month
December 29, 2009
All aboard! Another free film series begins Jan. 9 at the Issaquah Train Depot.The city Arts Commission and 4Culture — King County’s cultural services agency — will screen a series of train-themed flicks during the Films @ the Train Depot! program.
“It’s meant to be a fun, free program for community members who are looking for something different to do downtown,” Arts Commission spokeswoman Amy Dukes wrote in an e-mail. “We also hope people will enjoy other downtown amenities when they come to see a film,” like dining out, getting drinks or shopping.
Organizers also want to help participants connect with the community.
“In this day, where you can download any movie you want, or rent any movie from the Internet, like from Netflix, what we’re losing is viewing them with our community, our neighbors and our friends,” 4Culture Executive Director Jim Kelly said. “I think that it is an important part of community building.”
The free films will be shown at 7 p.m. the second Saturday of the month at the historic depot, 50 Rainier Blvd. N. The lineup is built around the theme Great Train Movies.
Films @ the Train Depot! launches Jan. 9 with “Twentieth Century,” a 1934 film about a successful Broadway director who tries to win back a star for a new show.
The series continues Feb. 13 with “Murder on the Orient Express,” the 1974 big-screen adaptation of the classic Agatha Christie mystery. The last train-centric film will be March 13. Organizers will show “The Lady Vanishes,” a 1938 Alfred Hitchcock thriller about a woman who disappears on a train.
When possible, pre- or post-film discussions and supplemental film information will be added to the event, Dukes said.
Kelly described the depot film program as the first of its kind.
“It looks like this is the first time they’ve done this program, to our knowledge, and we haven’t seen others like it,” he said.
Films @ the Train Depot! launched in October with a lineup built around the theme Made in Washington. Audiences turned out for “The Egg and I,” a 1947 comedy about a society girl whose new husband convinces her to move to the country and start a chicken farm; “Singles,” a 1992 film, written and directed by Cameron Crowe about singles life in early ‘90s Seattle; and “Smoke Signals,” a tale of two young American Indian men on a life journey. The series concluded Dec. 12.
The film project combines an appreciation of the town’s rich transportation and railroad history with film appreciation, Kelly said. To link the two by showing train-oriented films in a “wonderfully restored” depot is a great idea, he said.
The idea for the films came about as Arts Commission members identified gaps in arts programming in the city. Film was one of them, Dukes said.
“We support a good amount of visual arts, music and theater programs,” she said. “Having a diversity of arts programs helps reach a wider community audience. And, film is a fairly approachable art form.”
The program costs about $200 per film, because the city has to pay for the large audience rental rights to show each film. But the Issaquah Historical Museums donated the space for free.
Money for the program comes from annual 4Culture support for the Arts Commission.
Kelly said he did not know how much the agency had given to the city for 2009-10 programming. In 2008, 4Culture steered $7,200 to the Arts Commission to host the Concerts on the Green series, the Chalk Art Festival, ArtWalk and Music on the Street.
“Hopefully, audiences will enjoy seeing something in a group and enjoy something intrinsic to the city’s history,” Kelly said. “I think this could be a really fun annual event for Issaquah.”
Although the film series ends in March, Dukes said arts commissioners would like to continue the program with other film themes if people are interested.