Up & Coming Weekly

February 28, 2023

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 14 of 24

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM 14 UCW MARCH 1 - 7, 2023 EVENT e smell of fresh popcorn permeates the air as individuals line up for the snack, ready to pur- chase wine, beer, soda or candy as they prepare themselves to enjoy the Kaiju-Quest Film Series on Wednesdays at e Carolina eatre of Durham. Jim Carl, Senior Director of Film Programming at e Carolina eatre of Durham, has curated a film series for kaiju film fans called, Kaiju-Quest. What in the world is 'Kaiju?' e Japanese word 'kaiju' means "strange crea- ture" or "giant monster." ere is a plethora of kaiju films. Carl said American audiences think of Godzilla when they hear kaiju. He explained that there are many movies not necessarily from Japan that have "giant monsters" or "strange creatures" that can embody the word, kaiju. "Kaiju can be a monster underwater or in space," he said. He said to think of the monsters in "Pacific Rim," "e Host" or the queen alien in "Aliens." e giant shark in "Jaws" can also be considered a kaiju. "It doesn't have to necessarily be a towering monster tearing down skyscrapers and national monuments," Carl said. Retro Film Series In 1998, Carl started the Retro Film Series at the theatre. "roughout that series, we bring probably 100 films— classics — back to the screen that range from horror to action to westerns and sci-fi," he said. While a lot of classics are on streaming services, he said the theatre has cultivated an audience that enjoys coming back to see classics on the big screen. e requirement for a movie to be seen in the retro series: it must be 20 years old or older. ere are other sub-series under the Retro Series where he hones in on niches like horror, noir and animated Disney films that are hard to find. "At some point over the last few years, I started noticing that when I ran a foreign action film in its original Japanese version, attendance was huge," Carl said. He stated he wondered if there was an audi- ence willing and clamoring to see some of the old Godzilla films. "Not just to bring them back, but retro-rize them," he said. "So I created the Kaiju-Quest Film Series." Retro-rize To those in Fayetteville who are worried about the hour-and-a-half drive to Durham on Wednesdays, the experience may be worth it. When they screen Kaiju-Quest titles at e Caro- lina eatre of Durham, they are not just showing you a classic film on a screen. Carl's goal is to pro- vide an experience. Before the film starts, audiences are given an in- troduction to the film, door prizes, movie trivia and trailers from the film's opening night in Japan. You read that correctly. He has trailers from when these kaiju films first opened in Japan. He research- es the trailers and compiles them for the series. For example, if the theatre showcases "Godzilla vs. Hedorah" which premiered July 24, 1971, at- tendees will get a "retro" experience. Attendees will watch montages of happenings related to the 1971 premiere. ey will get an introduction from Carl, the door prizes and the trivia about the film. A title card comes up on the big screen which reads, "Tonight is July 24, 1971. It is the opening night of 'Godzilla v. Hedorah' at theatres across Japan. en a title card appears on screen announcing audiences will see trailers of Japanese movies which were playing in theatres during July 1971. As if you were indeed in attendance on that film's opening night. en the featured film will begin. Toho's Agreement is current season's edition of the Series began in January and ends June 21, with eight films being shown. e reason Carl is doing this is because of Toho. Toho, a production studio company in Japan (imagine Warner Bros or Disney), owns the rights to the original, uncut Japanese Godzilla films. Ac- cording to Carl, very few of these movies have been available in America for theatrical screenings for decades. He said while there are uncut, original Godzilla films that can be found on some streaming services, some people have never had a chance to see these classic films on the big screen. Two years ago, Toho entered an agreement with an American distributor named Janus Films. e agreement outlines that for a certain number of years, Janus will have theatrical rights to screen many of the original Godzilla films in America. Carl said at some point in the future, the agree- ment with Janus Films will expire and these movies will no longer be available for exhibition in the United States. "While that agreement is still in place, I'm trying to screen as many of these original Japanese lan- guage, uncut films. ere are so many of them." He does his best to spread them out during a typi- cal six-month season. "You want to spread them out over a few months to give audiences a chance to discover the Series and tell their friends," he said. If they miss one kaiju film, there's another one coming down the pipeline. In the inaugural season of Kaiju-Quest, he screened 10 films from July to December 2022. Between January and June 2023, he will showcase eight films. Another installment will run from July to December 2023. Carl does occasionally make exceptions to his 20-year rule for films such as Toho's 2016 "Shin and Godzilla." He explained many people didn't have the chance to see it at movie theaters during its brief theatrical run in the United States. Picture Perfect e theatre has a photo booth where guests can stand in front of a green screen for free photos. Stills from that evening's films can be utilized as the backdrops. ey can email or use a QR code to access their photos. Carolina eatre Carolina eatre has live events, film festivals and a two-screen arthouse cinema. ey do present first-run Indie movies like Oscar contenders and Oscar shorts. ey are a repertory theatre — bring- ing back classic movies to the big screen for new generations — like "E.T.," "Casablanca," and "e Goonies." All these Series are curated and produced by the Carolina eatre and are not a traveling series. For more information about the Series, visit https:// carolinatheatre.org/series/kaiju-quest- film-series/. Kaiju-Quest Film Series brings classic films back to the big screen by KATRINA WILSON KATRINA WILSON, Staff Writer. COMMENTS? Editor@upandcomingweekly. com. 910-484-6200 e Carolina eatre in Durham has live events, film festivals and an arthouse cinema. (Photo courtesy e Carolina eatre of Durham) e Kaiju-Quest Film Series offers a retro experience for guests, including original film trailers before each showing. (Photo cour- tesy e Carolina eatre of Durham)

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