“The Projectionist”

Photo © Kendall Messick

Photo © Kendall Messick

It has happened again, just like it does almost year about this time. The James River Film Festival has started, I planned to attend an event but when I got home from work I lay down and fell asleep. After 20 minutes I struggled to wake up and started to wonder if we should just stay home. Splashed some water on my face to gather myself, dressed and headed out the door still wondering if this was the right thing to do.

It was a beautiful evening, the Richmond skyline reflecting the setting sun and spring trees starting to bloom all over the city. On Broad Street we pulled right into a parking place just across the street from Candella Books + Gallery. I am still amazed that people say we have a parking problem. We entered the well lit and beautiful gallery where the opening event of the festival took place.

Of course it was fun to see old friends and faces I have seen around town, some now for 40 years, but the film we caught and which we had traveled downtown for, “The Projectionist” was a jewel. Filmmaker Kendall Messick showed his film of former operator Gordon Brinckle (1915-2007). Brinckle was the projectionist of the Everett Theatre in Middletown, Delaware for 33 years. A quiet man who climbed the stairs to the projection booth at every shift and lit the carbon arc projectors illuminating the screen with movie magic.

Brinckle lived across the street from director Messick as a child and after the death of Mr. Brinckle’s only daughter, Messick visited his former neighbor. In the basement of the his modest house Brinckle had built his fantasy movie palace, the Shalamar, Del Last Movie Palace. This film is the story of Brinckle and his movie palace and how it came to be. It is one of many stories that are waiting to be told if there were only someone there to listen. Stories that are disappearing every day that may never be heard.A beautiful film and story.

So once again dragging oneself out of the  house on a school night in early spring to the James River Film Festival turned out to be a moving and wonderful experience.

Try and catch some of the other films during the week long festival. “The Projectionist” will play again at Candela Books + Gallery on Sunday at 6:30pm @ 214 W. Broad Street.

Thanks to all the folks who put this festival together every year and Happy 20th Anniversary.


One Response to ““The Projectionist””

  1. I just heard that the Sunday showing of The Projectionist at 6:30pm will be at VISARTS. Moved from Candella + Books.

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