Everyone entered the Dietrich Theater doors with such anticipation – ready to experience an evening of fine wine and beer, delicious food, two acclaimed foreign and independent movies, and the company of others out for a good time.
For 17 years I was a worker at the Fall Film Festival Opening Night Gala, but this time I was a guest. My job has always been to be at the reservation table to give out tickets, but this time I had invited my son and his family, my sister, and my cousin to join me. What impressed me the most is the festivity of the evening and what a celebratory time it is. It is also a time to escape through film from our own sometimes problematic worlds to films that help us see the world through the eyes of others in vastly different worlds.
Behind the scenes there are so many who make this evening run so smoothly. Erica Rogler, executive director, and Ronnie Harvey, film booker and general manager, attend to every last detail – everything from ordering the food and wine to directing the staff. Shirley Fisher, Dietrich fundraiser, not only finds sponsors, but she also gathers all the volunteers who man all of the stations at the gala. Our staff attends to all the important jobs from making and bagging the popcorn to serving the hors d’oeuvres. And they love to dress up for the occasion.
Kudos to the many Film Festival sponsors who make the evening possible. Kudos to Epicurean Delight, Twigs Restaurant and Café, Ma Greenley’s BBQ, and the Fireplace Restaurant for their delectable concoctions. It literally takes a village to produce our popular Film Festival Opening Nights.
I am so glad I saw “Concerto: A Beethoven Journey,” one of the Fall Film Festival’s 21 films showing though Oct. 3. I went to the showing that was introduced by Chris Norton of WVIA, who always has fun info to share and prizes to give, and I was blown away by the artistry of Leif Ove Andsnes. His insight into the five piano concertos by Beethoven is truly a journey into his musical genius, but also his emotional journey as he slowly became deaf. This movie inspired me to download his piano concertos so I can continue to enjoy and learn more about his music. “Concerto” shows again on Sunday, Sept. 29 at 5 p.m. and Thursday, Oct. 3 at noon. If you are a classical music lover or just want to learn about an incredible personal journey, come to one of these showings.
Another riveting film is After the “Wedding.” There are so many twists and turns in this movie, and the performances of Michelle Williams, Julianne Moore, and Billy Crudup are stunning. I especially liked the first half of the film that succeeded in getting me totally hooked to the unraveling story that results in changing the lives of everyone involved. You can still catch it at the Dietrich: Friday, Sept. 27 at noon; Sunday, Sept. 29 at 2:15; Tuesday, Oct. 1 at 2:30 p.m.
Don’t forget three more special events in this festival scheduled for the first week in October. To help us remember the great Toni Morrison, Dr. Richard Hancuff of Misericordia University will introduce “Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am” on Wednesday, Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. A Q and A will follow the film.
On Thursday, Oct. 3 at 7:15 p.m., Bill Chapla will lead a discussion of the comparison of the novel and film: “Where’d You Go, Bernadette.” And for a discussion of all 21 films, come to the Post Festival Film Discussion on Friday, Oct. 4 at 1 p.m., led by Ronnie Harvey.
So – there you are! So many reasons to come to the Dietrich. We are hoping we can lure you with these offerings. Remember we have four movie theaters with the latest movies and classes and events 365 days of the year. When will we see you? We hope soon. We do it all for you.