Bucks County may be home to one of the oldest movie theaters in the country, but it’s not exactly known for its contemporary filmmakers. According to cinematographer Ian Gillies, however, maybe it should be.
“There are so many people in this area that are talented and have been [making films] for so many years,” he said. “There’s definitely a film scene, so to speak.”
There aren’t many opportunities for those artists to showcase their work locally, however — a situation Gillies hopes to help remedy this month.
On March 16, he’ll screen a handful of films created by local artists at the historic Newtown Theatre. It’s the theater’s first Independent Film Night, a series of shorts ranging from documentaries and dramas to comedies.
“It’s great to showcase their work,” said Gillies. “And it’s a neat way for people to see something they wouldn’t see otherwise.”
Gillies, a Levittown native who now lives in Newtown, got the idea for the event thanks to the short film “Catching Up.” He worked on it with a Langhorne-based director he knew from high school. It was accepted to, and well-received at, the prestigious Cannes Film Festival last year, Gillies said, and generated some buzz locally as a result.
“The question was raised, ‘Can we screen it at the theater?’ ” explained Gillies, who became the manager of the Newtown Theatre last year.
Since the film is only 12 minutes long, the idea blossomed into a full night of short films by local filmmakers. The event is free, with any donations or concession sales going to fund the nonprofit theater. Gillies is also arranging for some of the directors to introduce their works.
“It’s been great to have so many talented, creative people come together and put something forward,” he said. “We got a roster together in no time.”
That roster of films will be screened in the oldest continuously running theater in the country: the Newtown Theatre opened its doors in 1906 and has been showing movies ever since.
“There’s something poetic, that there’s a landmark that’s been here forever, and we’re showing these new films here,” said Gillies. “It’s an honor to be playing in the oldest movie theater in the country.”
The Newtown Theatre, 120 North State St. in Newtown, hosts Independent Film Night on March 16 at 7 p.m. The event is free to attend. For information, visit http://www.newtowntheatre.com.
Independent Film Night Features:
Catching Up: A physically disabled high school teacher seeks assistance from his cynical friend after falling in love with an able-bodied coworker. A funny and dramatic examination of disability, sex and love, starring real disabled people. Screened at Sundance Film Festival 2016. Directed by Bill Crossland.
Zoo Weather: On the coldest day of the year, a young man deals with the hostilities of those around him while trying to prevent his personal life from falling apart. Directed by Davron Mananov.
Faultless: Josh is a teen struggling to figure out what life’s priorities contain and why exactly he should pursue anything at all. Directed by Kenneth Kraft.
To Save Christmas: In order to save Christmas, Little Lucy is going to need to make a tough decision. Directed by Paul Ritchey and Nick Murphy.
Normandy – A World Apart: This short documentary film tells the story of a World War II veteran on his journey back to the shores of Omaha Beach for the first time in 70 years. Directed by Britt Rawcliffe and Rachel Marie Smith.
Braincage: Stuck in a semiconscious state between life and death, a boy mentally reconstructs the accident that nearly took his life. Directed by Jonathan Kobryn.