By Brendan Miller
Southern Alberta Newspapers
Following a successful premiere of the locally-produced documentary “Your Cinema Needs You,” producer Luke Fandrich, who also goes by the alias Editing Luke, is getting ready to host four more screenings at the historic theatre in February.
More than 2,800 people sold out seven premiere shows in December and January that brought life back into the historic theatre after being closed for a two-year lull while the city sought a buyer.
The documentary highlights the iconic history of Medicine Hat’s one-screen movie theatres and relives a time period when similar theatres were present in towns and cities across the county.
It also provides historical importance as it documents family albums and stories from people who worked in the theatre in the past as well as tracking the theatres history over the last century, history that has never been documented formally.
Fandrich believes that’s why so many people connect with “Your Cinema Needs You.”
“The message I kept getting after (screening) from those people was that, ‘This reminds me of the theatre that I grew up with and we had something like this in our hometown,’ you know in the middle of Saskatchewan or Manitoba. There were theatres like this all over Canada that just aren’t there anymore,” says Fandrich.
Because of the overwhelmingly positive feedback Fandrich received from the sold-out premiere screenings, he decided to host four more encore shows in February.
“I think one of the really exciting things about this, and I hear people respond in such a positive way that, for one thing, really enjoy the movie, which was always the goal – to have people enjoy the movie but for it to become this elevated experience,” says Fandrich. “It’s about the movie, it’s about being in the location to see it. It’s about recognizing something that maybe was in front of you the whole time that you didn’t know was there. It gives you a new lens to look at this place and to look at your own community, to look at your hometown.”
Fandrich says he is also committed to the preservation of the Monarch Theatre, thought to be Canada’s oldest standing one-screen movie theatre, currently being restored to it former glory by the Monarch 1911 Society.
He hopes his documentary inspires the community to preserve the theatre and keep it operating into the future.
“A lot of times documentaries are about inspiring action to have people connect with a story and then say, ‘Well, I want to change this, or I want to be a part of this, I want to engage some way.’ So to have this film be about the Monarch Theatre, to give people this fresh perspective on what it is and why it’s worth saving,” says Fandrich.
Fandrich is also working to release the documentary on Telus Originals streaming service later this year, which will reach a national audience, however no release date has been set.
“Your Cinema Needs You” will be screen four times at the Monarch Theatre from Feb. 14-17. Tickets can be purchased by visiting editingluke.com.