By January 30, 2011 Read More →

Reel Randy

On behalf of The Modesto Film Society, I welcome the return of the print edition of Modesto Community’s only view, too long absent from the local arts scene. The goal of the “Reel Randy” column is to bring you news and opinions about the local cinema scene.

The Modesto Film Society launched its seventh season in January with a showing of a newly restored 35mm print of From Here To Eternity, made from the original negative from 1953. Other films on this year’s program are Breakfast At Tiffany’s, On The Waterfront, The 39 Steps, Road To Morocco, South Pacific, Shane, The Caine Mutiny And Lawrence of Arabia. The Film Society makes an effort to show the best 35mm prints when available, just as the film makers intended. All features are scheduled for the third Sunday of the month (we skip June, August and December), and showings are usually accompanied by a pre-film organ concert by Kyle Barker of Barkers Music, a period newsreel or cartoon, a trivia competition and other surprises. All film goers are encouraged to attend dressed as a character from the film or as they would have in the year the film was released. More information about the Film Society and the benefits of membership can be found at the Film Society’s web site,, by calling (209) 521-8772 or

The State Theatre’s Cinema Club, which meets on the first Tuesday of each month, specializes in screening the best foreign, independent and American films, along with thought-provoking discussions led by film scholars, critics filmmakers and industry insiders. Films screened by the Cinema Club have included Seven Samurai, The Conversation, Touch of Evil, Vertigo, Cinema Paridiso, Wild Strawberries and 8 1/2. More information about the Cinema Club and the benefits of membership can be found at The State Theatre’s web site,

The State Theatre is sponsoring a weekend of Oscar®-related activities on February 26 & 27, including a media and poster sale and a free live broadcast of The Academy Awards® ceremony on The State’s big screen. Those of you who remember last year’s event which served as a pep rally for local favorite Jeremy Renner and The Hurt Locker, will agree that it was a highlight of the local film scene. Find out more by calling The State at (209) 527-4697 or picking up a flyer at the box office, weekdays from noon to 3 P.M.

As part of my continuing film education, I’ll be attending the Annual Art House Convergence Conference near Park City, Utah, the location of the Annual Sundance Film Festival (Alas, returning before it begins). The convergence brings together more than one hundred independent art house associates to hear from inspirational speakers and participate in workshops to improve the quality and effectiveness of theatres like The State. I’ll have more to report in next month’s column. Also attending will be the State Theatre’s General Manager Sue Richardson. A recent study in the Wall Street Journal says that ten percent of movie goers bought half of all the movie tickets sold in 2009.

And finally, from Nora Ephrom’s latest book I Remember Nothing, this comment about the current state of cinema presentation: “… it used to be so romantic to go to a movie – to sit in a big theater that had a balcony … and fabulous gilt trim on the walls. Now we go to horrible unadorned gray rectangles where the sound bleeds in from the gray rectangle right next door.”

By Randy Siefkin

Randy Siefkin Is A Retired Professor Of Political Science. He is active in local community activities and is currently the President Of The State Theatre of Modesto Board Of Directors, serves as Secretary Of The North Modesto Rotary Club and is the Director of the Modesto Film Society.



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