By Bill Arceneaux
DIG: There are plenty of multiplexes in Baton Rouge. What sets you guys apart from the major franchises?
JL: We offer so much more than just film. The entire staff at the Theatre has to hustle constantly to do this. We rely on our Members, Sponsors, and Fans to make it happen. It can be tough when you consider our resources compared to the Multiplexes, but they are not really our competition. They have their place too. We are different in that we can connect all of our programs to more than one medium. We get to show a filmed performance of World-Class Modern Ballet from the Netherlands or a Stage Play from London, and then follow up with real, live examples of those art forms. Or we can screen a classic like Pretty In Pink and have a band perform Psychodelic Furs songs from that movie’s soundtrack live during a prom-themed party right after the movie.
DIG: Last year, The Manship hosted a screening of the independent b-movie Return to Nuke Em High Vol 1. What is your process for selecting and scheduling films?
JL: Yes, the proper campy B movies. We will continue to incorporate Indie House releases, like Troma’s, mostly during the summer. Honestly we rely on suggestions from our film fans, staff, members, sponsors, everybody really. The dates are limited, so we are way behind, still listening to people, but the wish list is a long one. It’s exciting to think about all of the film events we have in store.
DIG: How receptive has your audience been to the diverse catalog exhibited?
JL: Great. It all began with our Executive Director and avid film fan, Renee Chatelain, telling us to make the commitment to film. That commitment has allowed us build trust with our audience. The goal has been to give everything a try. It has been interesting seeing what works and what does not, or just needs more development.
DIG: Filmmaking is booming all over the region. What are your thoughts on the state of cinema culture in Baton Rouge?
JL: Awesome. Economics aside, it feels like people’s creativity gets stirred by all of the activity. Then there’s the little things like Danny Trejo being in town, visiting the Theatre, and agreeing to film a “Turn Off Your Cell Phones” video for us on the spot.
DIG: What will be coming soon to the theater?
JL: April is a good month for our films. It starts out with a fresh French animated film called THE PAINTING “LE TABLEAU” on April 5th at 2pm. Really amazing looking visuals. Then a music documentary about legendary Harlem songwriter DOC POMUS April 6th at 2pm. We have three screenings of Spike Jonze’s HER (in DCP format) April 11th, 18th, and 25th. Each show is being paired with a Dinner and a Movie option from each of the three restaurants connected to the Shaw Center.
Plus Ghostbusters on April 13th and our interactive movie ridiculing Spoof Night! with Family Dinner Comedy Troupe featuring TOP GUN on April 17th.
Stay up to date on The Manship Theatre by following them on www.facebook.com/ManshipTheatre and www.twitter.com/ManshipTheatre.