Metro Cinema’s 1st Anniversary Week
Friday, Sept. 14 – Thursday, Sept. 20
Garneau Theatre (8712 109 St.)
Edmonton’s arts scene boasts an endless variety of venues catering to local art, theatre and music. But when it comes to film, the Metro Cinema Society remains Edmonton’s go-to destination for a cinematic experience beyond the mainstream.
For more than 40 years, the Metro Cinema Society has been an Edmonton nomad, drifting between several exhibition spaces yet never quite finding the perfect home. Despite its transient history, Metro’s underground cinema goal has always remained the same: to present what Executive Director Marsh Murphy refers to as “interesting cinema experiences.”
After more than a decade of operating out of The Citadel Theatre’s Zeidler Hall, Metro Cinema has finally come out of the shadows and into the spotlight under the radiant marquee of the iconic Garneau Theatre.
“Over the last 10 or 15 years, our scope and screenings grew and grew until we were kind of bursting at the seams,” Murphy says. “The opportunity to move into the Garneau Theatre came at a wonderful time in our organization’s evolution.”
The new location proved to be ideal for Metro, with Murphy noting the valuable ways they can now diversify their programming. Films can now be screened every day of the week, something that wasn’t always possible in the mixed-use Zeidler Hall. Most notably, Metro now has the freedom to present films at odd hours, taking advantage of the popularity of late-night cult screenings. All of this led to an unprecedented level of attention towards Metro Cinema, which is now celebrating its one-year anniversary at the Garneau Theatre.
“The location and the prestige of this historic building have been huge factors in our explosive growth over the last year,” Murphy notes. “Our audience has expanded, our partnerships have grown and it’s been an exciting year.”
To celebrate the success of the past year, Metro is compiling an eclectic mix of programming over their anniversary week to showcase what they have to offer throughout the year. They’ve even turned to the Edmonton film community to customize the Metro Cinema experience.
“We held a contest over the summer asking local filmmakers to submit Metro-specific bumpers and trailers,” Murphy explains.
To open the anniversary week on Friday, Metro will screen the submissions and announce the winners whose short clips will enter into the pre-show rotation throughout the coming year. Ranging from “please turn off your cellphone” warnings to previews for coming attractions, these bumpers highlight Metro’s dedication to creating a distinctive environment for film exhibition, as well as their role in promoting the local filmmaking scene.
Many of Metro’s ongoing monthly film series will be also starting up again throughout the week. Graphic Content will be launching their new season of comic book movies with Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, Gateway to Cinema returns with free monthly screenings starting with Back to the Future, and Turkey Shoot, which allows audience members to vocally heckle some of the worst films in Hollywood, is starting their latest season with a screening of Hudson Hawk.
Perhaps the most talked about event is the triumphant return of the Saturday Morning All-You-Can-Eat-Cereal Cartoon Party, which features three hours of childhood cartoons projected onto the big screen with the aim of taking the audience back to the innocence of their youth.
With all these and many more events permeating Metro’s anniversary week, it’s clear Metro has become one of the larger pieces of the puzzle that is Edmonton’s thriving arts community. As an exhibitor, Murphy can see the level of commitment to the arts that permeates the city at all levels and how it’s contributed to Metro’s growth over the last year — and hopefully, many more to come.
“There’s no doubt that Edmonton is an arts-friendly city in ways that extend from grass-roots organizations all the way up to City Hall and city management,” Murphy says.
“I know artists and arts workers from across North America who are jealous of Edmonton’s support for the arts.”
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