By Remy Sisk
With the weather going from cool to cold in the weeks ahead, it’s just about that time to start making some indoor plans for the fall. Though of course “going to a movie” is always an option, Speed Cinema at the Speed Art Museum offers a movie-going experience unlike any other – an experience to see films that likely won’t be screened elsewhere while getting treated to an educational journey, all within the comfort of the Speed’s state-of-the-art 142-seat theatre.
“One of the things I’ve said often is that people have such amazing access to film in so many different ways,” says Speed Art Museum Curator of Film Dean Otto, “but the thing that people are hungry for is to have that communal experience of seeing films all together in a group around like-minded people and to be able to discuss films.” Indeed, the experience of appreciating a unique piece of culture in a group setting, and in one where all are seeking the same level of appreciation, is a rare opportunity in Louisville, and the Speed takes it one step further with the educational components it infuses into its screenings.
“I think one of the things that’s special about Speed Cinema is that we have curatorial introductions and program notes that give more background on films as well as suggested reading and viewing,” he emphasizes. “And then we often have post-screening discussions – we do a lot of work with the University of Louisville to invite professors and other faculty here who have specialties in certain areas to do introductions and post-screening discussions.”
As far as what films are shown, they can range from restorations of classics to the most cutting-edge arthouse flicks. Otto maintains that he relishes Speed Cinema’s frequent collaborations with social justice groups, but on a broader level, he is seeking to fill a formerly very noticeable void on the Louisville cultural landscape since the closing of The Vogue. This fall will see “Loving Vincent” – the world’s first fully painted feature film – screen October 27 through November 26, a rare several-day engagement due to the film’s extraordinary popularity. Other films coming soon include social justice film “For Ahkeem” and the eye-opening “Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story.”
If there’s no film on the schedule that particularly strikes your interest, Otto suggests visiting on Sunday afternoons for free Owsley Sunday Films because once you visit for the first time, you’re sure to come again. “We always have a free Sunday matinee here in the early afternoon,” Otto affirms. “Every Sunday, because of the free Owsley Sundays, the galleries are also free so it’s a really great way for people to cross the threshold for the very first time and to get an experience of what we have to offer here. I’ve always said that when somebody comes in once and sees the amazing technical presentations of the films here and how well things look and sound in the cinema, they’re going to want to come back.” VT