With the working title, “Now Showing! America Goes to the Movies,” the first comprehensive feature-length documentary celebrating the history and excitement of the moviegoing experience, has been announced. To be filmed in High-Definition widescreen and slated for theatrical distribution in Fall 2006, this documentary, currently in pre-production, will recount an all too important, but largely untold, part of film history: The story of motion picture exhibition and how moviegoing has influenced the cultural and social fabric of America—while reminding us all why, after over a century, movie theaters still enchant us.
As the unsurpassed theatrical experience of watching films as a community has come under attack, a group of filmmakers, writers and producers, all industry insiders, have joined forces to remind everybody what the magic of the movies is all about. With this new documentary, David Strohmaier, the director of “Cinerama Adventure,” AJ Roquevert, the producer of “No More Joy—The Rise and Fall of New Orleans’ Movie Theaters” and Ross Melnick and Andreas Fuchs, the co-authors of the award-winning book Cinema Treasures—A New Look at Classic Movie Theaters, invite audiences to share over 100 years of memories, excitement, and, of course, entertainment.
“We hope to make this film a pop culture phenomenon that inspires audiences to think about these places where they go to laugh, cry, and share many a wonderful dream,” the filmmakers jointly stated. From the early pioneers, entrepreneurs and inventors, through the golden “movie palace” age, to the post-war era of drive-ins and suburban cinemas, and all the way into the modern, digital era, “Now Showing!” will recount the exciting tale of how “America Goes to the Movies”—then and now.
“This documentary presents a unique opportunity to finally tell the long overdue story of theatrical motion picture exhibition in the United States, with all of its fascinating, diverse, and compelling narratives,” said AJ Roquevert, writer and co-producer of the new documentary and head film buyer at Starplex Cinemas.
“The grandeur of the movie theatre and the excitement of moviegoing is a story that can be best told through the medium of motion pictures itself,” stated writer-producer and film historian, Ross Melnick. “We look forward to capturing this exciting story through contemporary interviews as well as historic documents and photographs, ephemera, newsreels, and oral histories, to share a part of film history with audiences that most documentaries about Hollywood leave out.”
Concurred writer-director David Strohmaier, “These incredible human stories and events, some hilarious, some tragic, will be told through personal reminiscences of not only the exhibitors themselves, but also from well known actors, noted film directors and industry executives, public figures, and, of course, the moviegoing public. “Now Showing!” will feature first-class production values that are fit for the big screen.”
“We are, in fact, mobilizing the entire industry to get behind this project in creating the best and most entertaining documentary possible,” added writer-producer and exhibition consultant, Andreas Fuchs. “In addition to offering a contemporary, very much of an insider’s view, “Now Showing!” will have a unique theatrical distribution and marketing plan with profits benefiting charities of the entertainment industry.”
While further details will be announced shortly, the producers of “Now Showing! America Goes to the Movies” have already secured the full cooperation of the National Association of Theatre Owners. NATO is the largest exhibition trade organization in the world, representing 40 countries and more than 29,000 movie screens, operated by the ten largest as well as over 500 smaller companies, in all 50 states.
Said MaryAnn Anderson, NATO’s Vice-President and Executive Director, “Our membership recognizes this opportunity to celebrate all of the fun and excitement that makes going to the movies one of America’s favorite pastimes. The people who built a major American industry on the nickels and dimes of an ever-changing audience have always showed vision, showmanship and tenacity in the face of often fierce competition. This has never been truer than today. Through this exciting documentary, we look forward to sharing our passion to entertain with audiences around the world.”