What to do with a month under the sign of cinema? A Cape Cod theater goes old-fashioned


September means many things to many people. Back to school. Move-in day. Apple cider everything. But for moviegoers, the month marks a bit of a lull.

“In the weird age of streaming and trying to get audiences, we are always challenged to make exciting programming,” said Paul Schuyler, director of the two screens. Chatham Orpheum theater on Cape Cod. “September is a desert. No major studio has movies coming out.

So Schuyler, who has been new to his job since June, offered to try something the theater hasn’t tried before. Schuyler hosted a month-long celebration of what he calls “cinema greatness,” featuring more than 50 films released throughout September. He dubbed it the Cinematographic Film Festival.

“We had all this space to fill,” Schuyler said of the theater’s lineup. “I was thinking, what if we built a whole festival around classic films?”

Already a week after Cinemagic, the Orpheum presented titles like “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, “Jaws”, “Casablanca” and “The Music Man”. Next week, visitors can expect “Caddyshack”, “Fantastic Fungi” and “All the President’s Men”. Schuyler said they’re gearing up for week three “when we’ll have the greatest diversity of movies,” including titles like “The Godfather” and “Apocalypse Now.”

“People love it,” Schuyler said of the first week. “We have our proven clientele, but people we’ve never seen are also showing up at the Orpheum.”

Other titles to watch this month include “Dr. Strangelove,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “Grease” and “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Schuyler’s heart. On September 23, the Orpheum will screen “Red River Road,” which Schuyler, who is also a filmmaker, directed and starred with his wife and two sons, all actors. The film, a locally made psychological thriller during pandemic on a shoestring budget, was recently picked up by independent film distributor Gravitas Ventures, Schuyler said, and is slated for release Oct. 4. on iTunes and other streaming services to be determined soon.

The original Orpheum opened in 1916 as Chatham’s first and only cinema, according to its website. In 1938 the building was purchased and renamed the Chatham Theatre. In 1987, “like so many village theaters on Cape Cod,” its website reads, the theater closed and was turned into CVS. In 2011, after CVS left, the community rallied around the theater, raised enough money, and brought movies back to Main Street in 2013.

“It’s arguably the finest theater on Cape Cod,” Schuyler said, describing the state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems. “The other thing is that it’s run by movie nerds…we really care about the movies. The sound level, the lighting, everything has to be perfect.

Cinemagic runs through the end of the month at the Chatham Orpheum Theater, 637 Main St. Tickets are $12 for adults and $9 for children and seniors. Tickets for “Jaws” in 3D are $15 for adults and $12 for children and seniors. For the full schedule and ticketing, visit moncinemagic.com.

Brittany Bowker can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @brittbowker and on Instagram @brittbowker.


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