Friday, May 31, 2013

Summer Classics: BMFI Staff Picks

By Devin Wachs, Public Relations Manager, BMFI 

Our annual Summer Classics series of repertory favorites from Hollywood and beyond begins next week, Tuesday, June 4, with the original King Kong. All summer long, we’ll be featuring vintage and recent classics on the big screen, with film series celebrating iconic filmmakers Alfred Hitchcock and David Lean, three new sing-alongs, the new 90th anniversary DCP restoration of Harold Lloyd’s silent comedy Safety Last!, and one night Summer Classic Seminars on Back to the Future and Brief Encounter. In addition, for the first time we’re featuring family films on Saturday mornings all summer long, including a month of the Marx Brothers!

We asked some of our staff to tell us what they're most looking forward to seeing at BMFI this summer. Do you agree? What are you excited to see?

Little Shop of Horrors Sing-along – Wednesday, June 12, 7:00 pm
Chosen by Kerri Grogan, Staff Assistant

I don't know about you, but I make it a habit to sing along with every musical I know, every time I watch them. And what's more fun than a campy musical about carnivorous alien plants? Answer: watching campy musicals about carnivorous alien plants on a big screen...and singing along with everyone in the theater. It sounds like it's gonna be a blast.

Sing along with Rick Moranis, who plays Seymour, the caretaker to the floral menace known as Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors.

Safety Last! – Tuesday, June 25, 7:00 pm
Chosen by Andrew J. Douglas, Ph.D., Director of Education

I’m very much looking forward to Safety Last! (1923) because though it’s Harold Lloyd’s most famous film, it really hasn’t been seen by a large segment of the contemporary audience, and this style of daring, physical comedy—similarly performed by Lloyd’s (even) more famous peers, Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, and Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle—is a lost art that needs to be preserved, and enjoyed, through theatrical screenings like this one. Also, I think, not unlike “Rosebud,” far more people know the image of a man dangling from a clock, (apparently) high above a city street, than have actually seen the film from which it originates, and I like that people who come to see the film will be reminded of that connection—or make it for the first time.

Harold Lloyd hangs precariously from the clock of a New York skyscraper in Safety Last!

Back to the Future - Tuesday, July 2
Film at 7:00 pm
Summer Classics Seminar at 6:30 pm
Chosen by Valerie Temple, Programming Manager

I'm teaching a Summer Classics Seminar on Back to the Future, but that's only part of the reason I'm looking forward to seeing the time travelling adventure on the big screen. Even though I've seen this particular film approximately 192 times (at least), I've never had the pleasure of seeing it on the big screen. Finally, I'll get to see that souped up DeLorean zooming across a screen larger than my TV! I am worried that I'll disturb the other patrons as I know the dialogue by heart and can't help but quote along with the movie. So, if you come to the screening and I'm making too much of a ruckus, don't hesitate to tell me to "make like a tree and get out of there!"

Great Scott! Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox are perfectly cast in Back to the Future.

Brief Encounter - Tuesday, August 13
Film at 7:00 pm
Summer Classics Seminar at 6:30 pm

Chosen by Pat Wesley, Director of Development and Communications

I am not sure which pairing is less likely: two thirty-something, properly married (to others) war-time Brits or David Lean and Noël Coward. I do know the result is a wistful, tender Brief Encounter and I can’t wait to get lost again in the foggy heartbreak of it all.

Celia Johnson, boarding a train, shares a poignant look with Trevor Howard in Brief Encounter

Heavyweights – Saturday, August 17, 11:00 am
Chosen by Andrew J. Douglas, Ph.D., Director of Education

I’ve never seen Heavyweights, but I’m very much looking forward to completing the trilogy of Ben Stiller-as-extremely-fit-but-dumb-as-a-bag-of-hammers-guy films that also includes Zoolander (2001) and Dodgeball (2004). Given the Disney branding and family-friendly elements of this film, I’m not expecting for the hilarity to be quite as ribald as it was in those films, but on the other hand, with co-writer/executive producer Judd Apatow (The 40-Year-Old Virgin) behind the scenes, and comic talents like Paul Feig (director of Bridesmaids), Kenan Thompson (Saturday Night Live), Jeffrey Tambor (Arrested Development), and comedy duo Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara on screen, I don’t think I’ll be disappointed.

Ben Stiller stars in Heavyweights as the insane (and insanely strict) fitness coach at Camp Hope.

For my part, although many of these films are personal favorites, I am particularly excited to bring a recent delight back to BMFI: Magic Camp, which we'll be showing on Monday, July 15 at 1:15 pm. If you missed our Pennsylvania Premiere of the film in December, this is your chance to see this charming documentary about Tannen's Magic Camp on the big screen again, with the added bonus of a Q&A with director Judd Ehrlich and performances by professional magicians who are instructors at the camp. Plus, it was filmed a few blocks away at Bryn Mawr College, where the camp meets!

Meet Magic Camp filmmaker Judd Ehrlich and campers and instructors from Tannen's Magic Camp at BMFI's encore of this fun documentary.

You can explore all of our films and upcoming events, watch trailers, and buy tickets at, or look at the latest issue of Projections, our program guide.

Devin Wachs is the Public Relations Manager for Bryn Mawr Film Institute. She joined BMFI in 2005, following her graduation from Bryn Mawr College. If you send BMFI a message on Facebook or Twitter or are interested in onscreen sponsorships, she's the one who'll be in touch!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Spring Breakdown: Recent Events at BMFI

By Kerri Grogan, BMFI Staff Assistant

Spring is officially in full swing, and so is the programming here at BMFI! The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity. Here are some of our recent highlights.

Critically Acclaimed: An Evening with the Critics

Film critics and enthusiasts alike gathered for the highly anticipated "Critically Acclaimed: An Evening with the Critics". The May 10 event celebrated film criticism and honored four top film critics—A. O. Scott, Lisa Schwarzbaum, Carrie Rickey, and Steven Rea—who discussed their work and what's in store for film criticism in the 21st century. BMFI President Juliet Goodfriend moderated the in-theater event, which was recorded by SpectiCast and is now available for digital distribution to art house theaters across the country. A Dinner with the Critics, hosted at the Merion Cricket Club, followed the main event.

Juliet Goodfriend greets the evening’s speakers (left to right: A. O. Scott, Steven Rea, Lisa Schwarzbaum, and Carrie Rickey) before the program begins, while guests enjoy a reception in the atrium.

In the theater, our guest critics participate in a lively discussion about the future of film criticism.

Science on Screen Film Series
"Does science really work like it does in the movies?" BMFI explored this question with its Science on Screen series, which paired classic and recent films with introductory talks by notable figures from related scientific fields who discussed their work and research. Audiences explored archaeology with Dr. Harrison Eiteljorg II before Raiders of the Lost Ark, delved into computer game production with indie game designer Halsted Larsson (Jamestown: Legend of the Lost Colony) in honor of Wreck-It Ralph, got a taste of food anthropology with Dr. Solomon Katz to whet their appetites for Babette’s Feast, and braved the elements with Dr. Raluca Ellis in anticipation of Future Weather. The series was made possible by a grant from the Coolidge Corner Theatre and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Indie game designer Halsted Larsson of Final Form Games talked shop before audiences were wowed by Wreck-It Ralph.

Food anthropologist Solomon Katz, Ph.D., signs the guestbook before our screening of Babette’s Feast. Guests also enjoyed some tasty French pastries before the show.

Future Weather producer Kristin Fairweather (left) poses with Science on Screen speaker Raluca Ellis, Ph.D., and Philadelphia Women in Film and Television (PWIFT)’s Veronica Stickelman. Following the film, Kristin answered audience questions in a panel introduced by the Greater Philadelphia Film Office and moderated by PWIFT.

Tri-Co Film Festival
Attendees from Bryn Mawr College, Haverford College, and Swarthmore College were dressed to the nines for the second Tri-Co Film Festival on May 1. Community members and students alike enjoyed the one-night festival, which featured 23 amazing films created by students at the three schools. The program was curated by students and judged by Shari Frilot, Senior Programmer at the Sundance Film Festival.

Student filmmakers receive the red carpet treatment in the atrium before the start of the event. Photo credit: Bryn Mawr College.

Juliet Goodfriend (center) clowns around with one of the student curators and faculty advisor Roya Rastegar, Ph.D. Photo credit: Bryn Mawr College.

Oliver! Sing-along
Guests were treated to a live performance by the Footlighters Theater players before belting out their favorite tunes as the Academy Award-winning film version of Oliver! played on the big screen.

Several cast members from Footlighters Theater’s current production of Oliver! performed before BMFI’s sing-along to the film version!

Kerri Grogan is BMFI’s Staff Assistant, and although her first love is animation, she moonlights as a dice-rolling, video gaming geek and comic artist.