PHOTOS: Paramount Theatre reopens this weekend with Kamloops Film Society at helm

The silver screen will once again be lit by moving pictures at the Paramount Theatre this weekend.

The downtown landmark has been closed for a couple of months following its sale by Landmark Cinemas. It's now owned by the Kelson Group and operated by the Kamloops Film Society. The society's executive director, Dusan Magdolen, says there's a mixture of stress and excitement as things come together.

"We've got most of our ducks in a row, but there's a few more ducks to tap in there," he says. "But we've got to get going."

The theatre will be showing three films a night on Friday and Saturday night (June 14-15). The two nights are being dubbed the "Best of the 'Fest" as the films being shown were popular at the 2019 edition of the Kamloops Film Festival (which took place at the Paramount Theatre).

"We want to represent our values a little bit; B.C., foreign, indigenous," Magdolen says. "Not every film we play is going to fit into those, but those are the values we like to have for our festival, for our series and we want to show that we're going to continue that with this venue."

The films are This Mountain Life (a B.C. documentary about a mother and daughter's epic journey), The Grizzlies (a drama about a young Inuit lacrosse team) and Sink or Swim (a French comedy about male synchronized swimmers). The trailers and times for the films are at the end of this article.

"We're doing This Mountain Life which is a B.C. film; it was the most popular film at KFF 2019," Magdolen says. "And then we're doing the Grizzlies."

"Unfortunately it didn't have a great time slot at the film festival, but it — still out of all the films — was the audience choice."

While not all films will fit into those sorts of niches, he says they films shown at Paramount will skew away from the blockbusters for a couple of reasons.

"Part of that is by necessity, we can't get the fair that you see up (at the Aberdeen Cineplex Theatre) because they get first dibs on it," he says. "But also we want to be something different."

"Why have a second theatre in town that's just trying to be the things that the first theatre is doing?"

That doesn't just mean foreign films or independent flicks, it means more live events, ideally.

"We want to be something different, create a lot more events, have the community coming into to book the theatre," Magdolen says. "Screenings, presentations, stand up, small live acts, whatever they want."

Some aspects are still being worked out on that end. A new lighting rig will be set up soon in Theatre One to better light the stage. Rates are still being worked out (Magdolen says there'll be a corporate rate and a not-for-profit rate).

"When we first were having our conversations with Kelson we were talking about it being a cultural hub, which is the way we see it," he says. "We want to be another option when people are looking for venues."

It will take time though, and money, which is something the society isn't exactly flush with as they start down this new path. Magdolen is planning on writing some grant applications soon, after the theatre is running.

Also, since the theatre is being run by the film society, that will mean changes to how membership works, but the details are still being discussed.

"Obviously it's going to have to get more robust," he says. "We used to have this $2 membership that you'd buy and have a piece of paper."

"I think we're going to have a more tiered membership."

He mentions that might mean deals on things like popcorn for members.

For now the theatre will run much the same as it has in recent years. Tickets for adults will be $11, for seniors they'll be $10 and for students (including university students) it'll be $5.

While summer can be slow for theatres, Magdolen is hopeful they'll be able to get audiences by offering something different.

"We're hoping with our programming and the people that support us and playing the kind of movies they're interested in that we can people here night-in and night-out," he says.

The box office opens at 5:30 p.m. Showtimes for June 14 and 15 are:

"This Mountain Life" plays at 6 p.m.

"Sink or Swim" plays at 6:15 p.m

"The Grizzlies" plays at 7:50 p.m.

More Kamloops News