Letter: Whither the Asheville Film Society?

Graphic by Lori Deaton

First, I’ll say that I’ve enjoyed [Scott Douglas’] reviews in the Mountain Xpress each week, and like Ken [Hanke] did for so long, [he] has maintained that high level of analysis and insight that readers (and movie buffs) like.

What I’d like to ask … about is the future of the Asheville Film Society. My wife and I have enjoyed the Tuesday night screenings at the Grail Moviehouse and [Douglas’] synopses before those showings.

It seemed that the Grail and the AFS were a perfect marriage, especially considering that the AFS became more centrally located (and rightfully) in the downtown area. It seemed to make perfect sense, and a culturally rich downtown Asheville deserved it.

Now, the news that Grail will no longer be home to the AFS is both disappointing and puzzling. While I am not naive and realize that these kinds of decisions almost always center on the money brought in (or lack thereof), these screenings of classic movies were done on Tuesday evenings (typically, a pretty quiet night in movie-theater land).

I’m hoping that [Douglas] has some good news for AFS (and future) members. The continuation of the AFS in Asheville (and in a downtown location) helps to enrich our culture here, and its demise would be a sad thing.

— Brad Dawson
Weaverville

Editor’s note: In fact, Xpress movie critic Scott Douglas does have some good news for Asheville Film Society fans. He writes: “Thanks for your kind words of support and continued interest in the Asheville Film Society, Brad. I share your disappointment in the Grail’s decision to discontinue our screenings there, but after a decade of bringing repertory film screenings to the Asheville community, I’ll be damned if this thing’s going to die on my watch.

“To that end, I’m very pleased to announce that the AFS will be back and better than ever this August. So far, I’ve locked down monthly ticketed screenings at the Fine Arts Theatre, weekly screenings at Asheville Pizza & Brewing Co.’s Merrimon Avenue location, and, of course, we’ll be continuing our Thursday Horror Show screenings at The Black Cloud in West Asheville.

“We’re also in the process of reincorporating as a 501(c)(3) under a new name — the Ken Hanke Memorial Asheville Film Society (a bit unwieldy as far as titles go, but credit where credit’s due). I’ll be sending out an email to our regular recipients soon, but anyone with questions or comments can send me an email at my personal address (jsdouglas22@gmail.com) or respond in the online comments section below this letter at mountainx.com. See y’all at the movies!”

An update: Douglas reports that weekly screenings at Asheville Pizza & Brewing Co. have been delayed until September.

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2 thoughts on “Letter: Whither the Asheville Film Society?

  1. Curious

    Does anyone remember the various predecessor groups to Asheville Film Society? Goetz Wolff at UNCA started showing foreign and art films at UNCA in the early 70s (I believe) and that venture may have morphed into something called Cinematique. Was Ken Shipira one of the guiding lights? Who else was involved? Maybe your local history reporter could do a history of the foreign and art film movement in Asheville.

    • boatrocker

      Didja ever notice that when a poster asks specific questions about a clickbait article here that the Mtn X writer never answers your questions?

      Post.
      Ignore.
      Done.
      “Journalism, hipster style”.

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