Starlite Cinema to Hold Independent Film Showcase!

Posted by Leah on 5/15/2016 8:22:53 AM

Andrew Bemis and Roger Froilan of Starlite Cinemas

Andrew Bemis and Roger Froilan of Starlite Cinemas

        The movie theater near me has had quite the rocky past. Over the past 20 years it’s been closed more than it’s been opened and has changed hands at least four times. That’s why, when a few months ago the theater was renovated and reopened, I was so excited. Looking at how much work the new owner, Roger Froilan, has put into revamping the theater and bringing it back to life I can’t help but have high hopes this time around.


        Back in April I had spoken to Roger, both on the phone and by email, about setting up a screening of the documentary Brew Hampshire, complete with local breweries to hold tastings, in celebration of New Hampshire Craft Beer Week.


        Unfortunately all of that fell through last minute, but my mind had already started working. “What can I do to make sure this time the theater stays opened?” I thought. Then it hit me. What if they held a film festival? There’s never been one in my town, to my knowledge, and it would be the perfect thing to draw people in! Apparently though, Andrew Bemis, an employee at the theater and filmmaker for Bang! Films, had had the same idea. On Friday May 20 and Saturday May 21 Starlite Cinemas will hold its first Independent Film Showcase. As soon as I heard about the event I knew I had to interview Roger and Andrew to find out more. Andrew has made two films of his own, the 2009 feature Black Light, and the more recent Most Likely, which will be screened during the showcase. “Indie filmmakers, like myself, often have difficulty getting their films seen, so we’re happy to help with that at Starlite Cinemas,” Andrew said.


        According to Roger, “I always knew that I wanted to have a space that could function both as a movie theater and a venue for other events. We’ve already held one comedy night featuring local comedian Jay Grove, with another coming up on May 21 featuring comedian Louis Ramey. On April 29 we held a special screening of Rocky Horror Picture Show with a live performance from Full Body Cast out of Boston. The reception for these events, and the theater overall, has been really positive,” which is why it makes perfect sense for the theater to hold an event like this.


        In order to create the lineup of films that will be shown, Andrew said he reached out to friends, and when he still didn’t have enough to fill out the program he put out a call for films on Twitter. “After posting that we needed films for the showcase on Twitter, I had no problem filling out the program. In fact, now have more films than can fit into the schedule. There is more content out there than there are venues to show them, so people are really excited that our theater is able and willing to do that,” Andrew said.


        The showcase will feature sixteen independent and local films, both features and shorts, over the course of the two days, with Q&A sessions after several of the screenings with the filmmakers.


        One of the most highly anticipated screenings is that of the recent documentary Food Fight: Inside the Battle for Market Basket. The film is a documentary that covers the 2014 worker strikes and public protests over the firing of CEO Arthur T. Demoulas. The film recently premiered at the Boston International Film Festival in April, and has received many positive reviews. The filmmakers will be on hand for a Q&A session after the 6 pm Friday screening.


        The rest of the films to be screened include the horror films The Stray and Killing Brooke, the shorts Frontier, Universal Adapter Blues, Rest in Peace Albert Lively, The Last American Movie, Giving Up the Ghost, Galus Galus, Thirty Today, The Answer and Dark Roast, as well as the documentaries Brew Hampshire and Leave Behind a Groove in the Earth: The Story of Sam Black Church.


        So mark your calendars for the first Independent Film Showcase at Starlite Cinemas in Rochester, NH. You’ll be supporting a small business and indie filmmakers and get to check out a lot of great films. That’s a win for everyone!


        Tickets for the Independent Film Showcase are $8 for a single feature, $12 for a double feature or $20 for a weekend pass. For tickets, or information you can either visit the theater’s box office at 5 Milton Rd

Rochester, NH or go to one of the following Facebook pages:

Starlite Cinemas

Indie Film Showcase

Starlite Cinemas is also currently holding a Kickstarter campaign to upgrade their projectors. More information about that can be found here.