A slice of New York City culture has made its way to the big screen in Evansville — but it’s far from the only way to get some world-class viewing opportunities on the local big screen. Even as huge blockbusters dominate the headlines, venues like AMC theater and the Evansville Public Library are offering movie and special event screenings that give patrons a chance to sit back, relax, and enjoy something completely different.
AMC’s live screenings of the Metropolitan Opera and Royal Ballet are broadcast by satellite to select theaters across the country, including AMC Evansville 16 on the West Side.
“Around here, a lot of people may not get the opportunity to see the Metropolitan Opera in person,” says Josh Boze, general manager at AMC West. “This brings the show to them.”
Boze says hosting performances of the opera and ballet in the theater provides viewers with an experience they can’t get at home. Typically shown on their widest screen in high definition and surround sound, it’s the closest audience members can get to the performance without actually being there, says Boze.
AMC offers other unique screenings as well, including live sporting events like United Fighting Championship matches, as well as its most popular special event RiffTrax. RiffTrax is typically an older movie with running commentary from comedians Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett (the former stars of “Mystery Science Theater 3000”) playing over the original audio. Boze says these events have the most loyal following and a good turn out.
For those who want something different on a smaller scale, the Evansville Public Library’s film series provides unique screenings in a more social and intimate setting.
The patrons who attend the Evansville Public Library’s Classic Film Series are a loyal group. Kaitlin Conner, reader’s advisor at the Central Library, attributes the program’s dedicated following to the relaxed feel and sense of community the event offers.
“People enjoy coming out and watching these films with their friends, or making new friends while they’re here,” says Conner. “Sometimes people will also bring a younger family member and introduce them to a classic film for the first time.”
The Classic Film Series meets the third Thursday of each month at the Central Library location. Conner says these movie nights tend to draw about 15 to 20 attendants, and she tries to provide a good variety in the movies they show.
“We try to get a nice mix of musicals, dramas and comedies,” says Conner. “We also try to have fun seasonal films, like ‘Christmas in Connecticut’ in December and ‘Where the Boys Are’ over the summer.”
The Central location also offers a series called Film Movement, which spotlights different independent and international films. The series is hosted by Dain Hill of the Tri-State Cinema Society, and Hill leads a discussion after each movie. Conner says even though the Film Movement series has a smaller turnout, it still provides a great outlet for members of the community.
“It lets people know what’s available at the library, that we’re not just a place with books sitting on the shelf,” says Conner. “It’s also a shared experience with others, and people tend to enjoy that a lot.”
For more on the Met Opera’s upcoming simulcasts at AMC, visit amctheatres.com/programs/the-met. For more on the Film Movement series, visit evpl.org.