FILM at Erie Art Museum kicks off new season

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Erie Art Museum open new season

By Karlee Dies
News Editor/Spectator

ERIE - FILM at the Erie Art Museum will be starting up a new season on Feb. 11 with a kick-off party and the double feature film, “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him and Her.”

The kick-off party starts at 6 p.m., featuring free samples from Three BBQ Saloon and Lavery’s Brewing Company.  The double feature film will start at 7 p.m. and tells a twopart story of a break-up between two people from each of their perspectives.

“I’m really excited for it. It hasn’t played anywhere in this area. I want to bring these movies to this area because they are movies people wouldn’t normally see in a theater,” said John Lyons, an award-winning filmmaker and the drive behind this organization.

FILM is a non-profit organization that was created in June of 2012 to “bring a love of all kinds of movies to the area.”

“It started because we have one mainstream chain theater, Cinemark Tinseltown, which is great for mainstream Hollywood movies and the occasionally indie. The cool thing now is that, since it’s Oscar season, they usually show a lot of the combinations, but you’ll never get a documentary, you’ll never get a really good art house movie or a foreign language film. So there is a void,” said Lyons.

Lyons stated that while we do have the Edinboro Film Series on campus, “which has a really nice eclectic program, which is picked by myself and my awesome student board, there really isn’t a downtown Erie destination to see movies.”

Lyons has been making movies for a decade now. His films have made it to a couple of film festivals and can also be seen on Netflix or Amazon. He sees a potential for this industry in this area because he has so much invested in it already.  Lyons has “big dreams and big goals for this area.”

The FILM organization crew got together and picked out a night of the week, Wednesday, to offer a unique experience for people that love movies.

“It started out with me just showing movies that I love from all genres and time periods and it’s kind of become now where we show a lot of movies for the first time in Pennsylvania or the first show of the region. Then we have an open discussion afterwards. The important thing for me was to build an experience around it.”

Each film is followed by an open audience discussion, guest panel, and/or Q&A with the filmmakers.

“Everybody, after they finish a movie, they like to talk about it with who they saw it with and it’s usually between a small group of people, but here we want to build that community and make it welcoming for people who love all types of movies. People will ask questions like, ‘what does this or that mean?’ directly to the filmmakers. We have a lot of really cool panels this season,” stated Lyons.

Tickets are $5.

During this season, FILM will celebrate their 100th screening. The attendance has grown in the past three years, pulling in nearly 75 attendees a week where some films attract up to 200 viewers.

“It’s been a lot of hard work. Our board, the Film Society of NWPA, is the nonprofit who puts on the FILM Series and it’s been a lot of time and a lot of hard work, but we are a really dedicated, hardworking board of people and I think we have accomplished so much already in three years, “said Lyons.

To date, the organization has brought one “Special Preview Screening,” one east coast premiere, eight Pennsylvania premieres and 18 live filmmaker Q&As to our region.

The organization’s next phase is to make a film office here, titled, the Greater Erie Film Office, in order to bring more productions to the area and build a foundation for filmmaking.

“This FILM series brings movies that people wouldn’t have a chance to see on screen here and introduce it to them. It’s stuff that we give our stamp of approval on. It’s great. I’m really happy with how things are going so far,” said Lyons.

The FILM series at the Erie Art Museum makes its debut on Feb. 11 and runs every Wednesday at 7 p.m. until the end of April.

“With your support we will continue to bring the best in independent, art-house, classic and documentary film and filmmakers to our region,” as stated in the Spring 2015 Preview Guide.

In addition, Lyons asks everyone to give it a chance or at least check out the Edinboro Film Series right here on campus every other Thursday night.

“If you like movies or you are a filmmakers or in the arts, it will only help yourself to support these organizations. Just get out there and if you want an alternative to Tinseltown, it’s there. You just have to show your support,” said Lyons.

For a listing of the movies and panels available, check out the schedule below. If anyone is interested in helping out or to volunteer, you can send them an email, at

Karless Dies is the news editor for the Spectator. She can be reached by