SHEPHERDSTOWN – Though it’s still January, this week brings the start of the spring season for the Shepherdstown Film Society.
Between now and mid-April, the society will show five films at Reynolds Hall on the campus of Shepherd University. It’s free to come to any of the shows and this week’s event also includes a free pre-movie reception to kick off the new season.
“We usually take a couple of months off between the fall series and our spring season and our audience always looks forward to the start of the next one,” explains Lisa Welch, coordinator for the Shepherdstown Film Society.
Film lovers also appreciate the discussion periods that follow the movies and don’t shy away from weighing in with their opinions, Welsh said.
And movie fans also like the mix of films selected by the Film Society. “I’m often asked how we come up with the films we choose,” she said. “Our planning group brainstorms about what to show. Sometimes this centers around particular films we want to show and sometimes we start with a theme and then come up with the films.
“Then we have to determine which of the films we want to show are available and affordable.”
Shepherd’s Scarborough Society provides the financial support to show the films without charging admission to university students, faculty or the larger community.
This year, the season’s season starter, “Mediterraneo,” and two other films make up a spring “island” theme while two others will be screened in conjunction with Shepherd programs, Welsh said.
Friday, the season’s opening night reception happens from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the War Memorial Building at 102 E. German St. downtown ahead of the film’s 7 p.m. start.
“Mediterraneo” is an Italian film made in 1991 and directed by Gabriele Salvatores. The winner of the Academy Award for best foreign language film, the movie focuses on an Italian army unit posted to a small Greek island during World War II. When the transport meant to take them back into harm’s way gets lost, according to the Film Society, “their lonely outpost becomes a heaven on earth.”
Other films one the lineup:
Feb. 8: “Something the Lord Made,” an American film made in 2004 and directed by Joseph Sargent. Set in the mid-20th century, the movie’s storyline highlights a pioneering heart surgeon who make waves in the medical establishment when he collaborates with his African-American lab technician at Johns Hopkins University Hospital.
Heidi Hanrahan, an assistant professor of English at Shepherd, will lead the post-film discussion.
Feb. 15: “Round Midnight,” a 1986 French film directed by Bertrand Tavernier, concerns a fictional jazz musician struggling with alcoholism in 1950s New York.
The movie – which won Herbie Hancock an Oscar for best original score – is co-sponsored by the university’s Office of Multicultural Student Affairs and is offered as part of Shepherd’s Black History Month celebration.
March 8: “Swept Away,” an Italian film made in 1974 by director/screenwriter Lina Wertmuller, shows what happens when a wealthy right-wing socialite and one of the crewmen on her yacht, a tried-and-true Communist, survive a shipwreck.
April 19: “The Wicker Man,” a 1973 British movie directed by Robin Hardy, tells the story of a detective who arrives on the Scottish island of Summerisle when a girl goes missing.
Rachel Krantz, associate professor of French at Shepherd, is set to lead the discussion period following the film.