The idea of a local film society has been flying around for years, but for one reason or another, it has never gotten off the ground. Now – in part due to the response to the Thursday Horror Picture Show – the Asheville Film Society is finally a reality. The AFS is being set up by Carolina Cinemas’ Bill Banowsky as a nonprofit organization that will also include the participation of other local independent theaters. And, yes, a certain Mountain Xpress movie critic has agreed to serve as artistic director.
Some of the details are still being worked out, but the goal of the AFS is fairly simple. The AFS mission statement is as follows:
To celebrate films.
To honor filmmakers and recognize their achievements in filmmaking.
To educate about the role of film in today’s world.
To promote the city of Asheville and its commitment to film appreciation and filmmaking.
And of course, the AFS will be watching films – a lot of films – a cross-section of film from every era up to and including the present. This is meant to be a community resource with input from locals. Ideally, it will also pick up on worthy films that didn’t play here in their original release for whatever reason – or films that failed to draw the audience they might have. One aspect of this is very similar to what is being done with the Thursday Horror Picture Show. In other words, movies will be shown in the Cinema Lounge of the Carolina Asheville Cinema weekly – on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. As with the THPS, the films will be free to the public. The other difference, of course, is that they won’t be confined to horror.
But there’s more. The AFS will also be hosting special-event movies and other functions that will be available at a discounted rate to members who help support the AFS by buying a yearly subscription, which will be available starting May 25. The membership will also serve to earn discounts on movie tickets. The premiere event will be Friday, May 28, with a special AFS screening of the new film The Square from filmmakers Nash and Joel Edgerton, who have been favorably compared to the Coen Brothers by a number of reviewers – and there’s definitely something to the comparison in the neo-noir tone of The Square. The special AFS screening of the film will be followed by an AFS kickoff reception for AFS members and guests.
In order to recruit viewers and members, the AFS will host a free screening of the Coens’ first film, Blood Simple (1984), at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 25, in the Cinema Lounge at the Carolina Asheville.
More information and a list of the first set of Tuesday night AFS screenings will be included in this week’s “Cranky Hanke’s Screening Room.”