Cape West 14 Cine focuses on bringing more independent movies to local screens with Diamond Film Series

Friday, July 23, 2010

This summer, Cape West 14 Cine in Cape Girardeau is stepping off the beaten path to showcase independent, foreign and critically acclaimed films.

Wehrenberg's Diamond Film Series features a collection of films that aren't necessarily considered mainstream but still feature a recognizable cast and interesting stories.

The showings begin July 30 with "Cyrus." The R-rated film stars John C. Reilly, Jonah Hill and Marisa Tomei in a story about the perplexity and balance of family love and dating.

In this film publicity image released by Roadside Attractions, from left, Ashlee Thompson, Jennifer Lawrence and Isaiah Stone are shown in a scene from, "Winter's Bone." (AP Photo/Roadside Attractions, Sebastian Mlynarski)

Three more films will debut on the following Fridays. "Winter's Bone," a film that was shot and produced in Springfield, Mo., won the 2010 Sundance Grand Jury Prize. It will play Aug. 6.

"Eat Pray Love," based on Elizabeth Gilbert's best-selling book and starring Julia Roberts as a woman searching the world -- and its restaurants and markets -- to regain her passion, debuts Aug 13.

On Aug. 20 the Swedish film "The Girl Who Played With Fire" will be shown. The movie is based on the second of Swedish author Stieg Larrson's popular Millennium trilogy.

With the exception of "Eat Pray Love," the movies are limited-release films that trickle down to smaller markets.

"We came up with the Diamond Film Series, and we're testing it in four markets," said Kelly Hoskins, vice president of marketing for Wehrenberg Theatres. "Cape Girardeau is one of them. One of the reasons we chose Cape is because of the university influence there and the filmmaker influence."

Kevin Dillon, the manager at Cape West, has shown films made by local filmmakers before, and Hoskins said the company has recognized the community's interest in non-mainstream films.

"We've got some serious independent films that we are going to show," Hoskins said. "But we also want to encourage local filmmakers to send us their work, because we might include it in the future for the Diamond Film Series."

In this film publicity image released by Sony, Julia Roberts is shown in a scene from "Eat, Pray, Love." (AP Photo/Sony, Francois Duhamel)

Dillon agreed with Hoskins about the draw of independent films. He has been planning a film festival in Cape Girardeau for more than a year. Dillon said if he could find several movies written, produced and filmed in the area, he would show them in a one-week period. He said he just needs more submissions.

"One of the things we are trying to do is get more people involved," Dillon said. "We have people that request independent films and art films throughout the year, but a lot of times when the movies come down, they do mediocre business."

He said they hope the Diamond Film Series will build the clientele and make people realize Cape West shows independent films.

"A lot of times the movie may run for one week, and it's here and gone before people realize it played," he said.

The Diamond Film Series may be new, but the theater has regularly offered a late show series on the third weekend of every month. The late-night movies are usually cult classics like "Rocky Horror Picture Show" or holiday-themed films like "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" in December.

"We take people's requests," Dillon said. "It's kind of majority rules and what we think people will come out to see."

The late shows have built a following, and Hoskins said the company hopes that the Diamond Film Series will show that there is a market for independent films as well.

"This is another level of entertainment that isn't commercial," Hoskins said.

In addition to Cape Girardeau, Wehrenberg is offering the Diamond Film Series in Springfield, Rochester, Minn., and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Hoskins said organizing an event like this takes some planning.

"All of the stars have to line up," Hoskins said. "We have to make sure that we have the open screens, that we're not eliminating a screen for the majors to rent, that we have an open auditorium, and that the product is viable."

"I'd like to start some kind of club, perhaps where everyone who attends the series would fill out a card," Hoskins said. "We'd collect the data and make everyone aware as the series goes forward. Everyone would be in the know."

Information on the Diamond Film Series and other programs from Cape West 14 Cine is available at www.wehrenberg.com or by calling 651-1726.

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