Can you guess how many films and other events have been presented at The Civic Theatre since the beginning of 2018? Not the number of screenings, just the actual different titles of films and other things that have taken place on screen and on stage. You might be amazed by the number – we were, when we added them up. The total is 105.
That is a lot of content, especially for one theatre. And it is a number worth celebrating because it shows that we are meeting our goals of offering diverse content and experiences to a multitude of audiences of various ages and interests.
There is one really hard thing about this number though, and that is the inevitability that every few days we hear the following words: “I sure wish I’d known about that event before, because I would have loved to have come!” We are always at a loss when we hear this from a patron, because we do try to reach people through many avenues: The Nelson Star, our weekly newsletter, printed flyers, social media like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, our screen advertising, our website, and our historic marquee. Every week, usually after only getting confirmations from film distributors on Monday, we begin the mad dash to get information out as quickly as we can about films that start on Friday.
In addition, in the last few years, The Civic Theatre has started a number of social engagement activities for seniors, youth, and families, as well as other segments of our community. We have watched and listened to people and organizations in the community, looking for ways that we can close gaps, amplify initiatives, and support people who experience barriers in our society. We love our weekly Films with Friends program, where people have the chance to meet up with other film-goers before the Thursday night movie, so that they don’t have to go alone. Our monthly Screen-Based Industry meet ups highlight things like studio space, prop making, industry mentorship and local film content, and are open to everyone who is interested in film making, video or divergent online media. Last week we presented an indigenous art and activism series, complete with a live performance by Inuit singer-songwriter Willie Thrasher, and co-presented a series of some of the greatest films surrounding death and dying with Kalein Hospice Society.
Chances are you have heard about one or two of these things, but not all of them. With so much going on, our capacity to advertise these diverse programs is limited. Our biggest issue is getting word out to the community about events like these, even when they are free of charge.
Enter the Great Canadian Giving Challenge, a Canadahelps.org campaign promoting giving to projects across Canada throughout the month of June. Funds raised for The Civic Theatre through this campaign will support design costs, social media boosts, and virtual and printed advertising for our programs, making sure that our information about these events can reach the people who would appreciate them most.
During this month, every gift made will enter The Civic Theatre into a draw to win $10,000. If we won this grand prize, we would use it to support our free programs for youth, families, and seniors, including pre- and post-screening conversations and talk-backs, education opportunities through collaboration with initiatives like the Nelson Youth Action Network, content creation for the annual ReelYouth Film Festival, and annual family-oriented events like the Zombie Walk and the Home for the Holidays Winter Celebration of Family and Friends.
We would also use it to further develop partnerships with community organizations to amplify their work, meet specific interests voiced by the community, grow dialogue opportunities, and more.
Getting word out is so important: it impacts our bottom line, which is directly related to our ability to continue to program exciting and engaging content that meet the needs and interests of people in our local community. If you would like to make a gift to Nelson Civic Theatre Society through the Great Canadian Giving Challenge, please do so here.
And of course, I should probably tell you about the coming week. We are pleased to be presenting Tully from Diablo Cody and Jason Reitman, who made the memorable Juno together, and Disobedience, in which a woman returns to the religious Jewish community that shunned her for her attraction to a childhood friend (both start Friday, June 8). We are also looking forward to showing the documentary RBG, which looks at the life and work of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Sunday, June 10 and Thursday, June 14 – preceded by Films with Friends!) .
We are also pleased to be partnering with the West Kootenay EcoSociety in screening the documentary Directly Affected: Pipeline Under Pressure, which weaves together the stories of people impacted by the Trans Mountain Pipeline Project, the broken National Energy Board review process used to approve the pipeline, Canada’s commitments at the Paris Climate Talks, and the innovators working towards the low-carbon economy (Monday, June 11).
Finally, on Wednesday, Freeride Entertainment premieres their newest film, North of Nightfall. Hidden among the glaciers high in the Arctic Circle are mountain bike lines too incredible to ignore. Harsh temperatures, volatile weather and nine-month winters mean the area is normally devoid of human life. But each summer, this frozen landscape flourishes under endless daylight, revealing a spectacular ecosystem. Join Darren Berrecloth, Carson Storch, Cam Zink and Tom Van Steenbergen as they embark on an expedition to the top of the world to explore this relatively unknown land. In doing so, they discover a changing environment steeped in history along with challenging terrain unlike anything anyone’s ridden to date.
Jason Asbell is the Programmer, Theatre Manager and number counter for The Civic Theatre.