When the chance came along to start my own movie program, Movie Monday
at E.M.P., Saltspring's Cinema was my ready role model.
So many great flicks we've seen on our weekend visits, 35mm. prints
stillwarm from showing in town. Strictly Ballroom, (the unanimous family
fave), Black Stallion, Fearless, Secret Garden, Ed Wood, Peter's Friend, Much
Ado About Nothing, Six Degrees of Separation, even the 1978 version of
Invasion of the Body Snatchers takes on an extra creepy dimension, when after
the show, you step out of the cozy little church building at a rural crossroad
and into a dark and drizzly winter's night. Each weekend we drive by their
artistically chalked marquee we slow down to see what the two offerings are,
surely one will add to our weekend fun.
What makes S.S.I.'s Cinema so special are the folksy touches and
preshow entertainment. When we first went to movie there, maybe 15 years ago,
an elderly lady wearing hi-top sneakers and a broad grin would pound out
two-fisted tunes on an upright piano before the show and then would bow deeply
to the wildly enthusiastic applause.
Recently the owner, Louise Nye, who is an enthusiastic photographer,
shows selections of slides while you're getting settled. These are not just
any slides but community images; the rushes from a grad, fall fair, Sea Capers
festivities, local gardens and landscapes. You might see your neighbour's
smiling face or your own! Another good reason to take in a movie!
Louise makes special selections for special events. I discovered it
was no happenchance that before Bridges of Madison County we were treated to
a selection, from her vast collection from over the years, of couples - all
ages and sorts and situations - warm friendly images of local folks with arms
around each others shoulders, looking out from the screen - boldly declaring
their couple status. For Pocahontas, the movie running alternately this week,
a selection appropriate for that offering and audience. I was impressed! I've
been doing it some at M.M. It takes time. It's a lot of extra work. It shows
a real respect for the whole audience experience.
In the past there have been door prize draws (keep yer stub) for a free
movie pass or prize from an advertiser in town. One other idea M.M. fans have
enjoyed our copying is serving Engevita yeast, even yeast/curry combo, (and of
course real butter) to dress the popcorn.
So when next you roll off the ferry to S.S.I. check the bulletin boards
for what's playing or swivel-your-heads-as-one as you whiz by the chalkboard at
'Central', the intersection to Vesuvius, Long Harbour,and North Island.
Check out my role model - you'll likely be delighted.