Morphing at the Orpheum

Changes: The Fells Point theater will close for renovations, but also for a rethinking of its mission


May 07, 1999|By Ann Hornaday | Ann Hornaday,SUN FILM CRITIC

The Orpheum in Fells Point will close Monday for renovations, owner George Figgs said this week.

"The seats need to be fixed, the screen needs to be cleaned, the carpets need to be cleaned and changed," Figgs said of the tiny theater, which opened 10 years ago. Figgs added that he is exploring ways to re-open the theater -- which shows 16-millimeter prints of repertory, foreign and experimental movies -- as a nonprofit concern.

"There will be an admission charge, and it will be subscription, too," Figgs said, adding that as a nonprofit, he would apply to foundations like the Abell Foundation for operating grants. "When you join, it would be like being a member of a museum. You'd get a discount for everything going on there. And it won't just be film, but media, performance art and some live music."

The Orpheum's role has been taken over somewhat by the newly expanded Charles Theatre, which now shows the kind of repertory that the Orpheum has specialized in. Figgs said that as a nonprofit, he will show primarily experimental and rarely-seen foreign work, as well as works by local filmmakers.

He didn't know how long the Orpheum would remain shuttered: "A couple of weeks or a couple of months, however long it takes to get this thing together."

Little budget, big ambition

MicroCineFest, Baltimore's premiere showcase for underground, micro-budget film offerings, is gearing up for its third year in the fall and is currently accepting entries.

Filmmakers interested in submitting their work may call, write or visit the festival's Web site for an entry form.

General entry fees are $15 for films 30 minutes or shorter and $25 for films over 30 minutes (see the Web site for details regarding special entry rates). All lengths and formats are acceptable. Deadline for entries is July 31, 1999.

MicroCineFest's mission is "to showcase worthwhile underground filmmaking from all over the world. We're looking for projects with a substream/psychotronic bent that display creativity, originality, entertainment and a wise use of funds...big ambition on little budget."

Call MicroCineFest director Skizz Cyzyk at 410-243-5307, or write to him at the festival headquarters at 3700 Beech Ave., Baltimore, Md., 21211. MicroCineFest's Web address is http: // t/.

On local screens

"The Dreamlife of Angels," Erick Zonca's drama about the friendship of two French women played by Elodie Bouchez and Natacha Regnier, will be the featured film at Cinema Sundays at the Charles on Sunday.

Cinema Sundays founder George Udel will be the guest host, and Jonathan Palevsky and Diane Finlayson will be the guest speakers.

Memberships to the remaining five Cinema Sundays programs are still available for $60 ($50 for renewing members). Walk-up tickets may be purchased for $15 when doors open at 9: 45 a.m. Screenings start around 10: 30 a.m. As always, coffee and bagels will be served, and new members will receive a bag of goodies and gift certificates. For more information, call 410-727-3464.

The University of Maryland, Baltimore County, wraps up its Canadian Cinema series Monday with a screening of "The Sweet Hereafter," Atom Egoyan's haunting adaptation of Russell Banks' novel about the aftermath of a tragic school bus accident. All screenings are free and begin at 4: 30 p.m. in Lecture Hall IV in the Academic IV building on the UMBC campus. For more information and directions, call 410-455-2109.

Towson University continues its spring series "Robots, Androids, Cyborgs, and Replicants: Artificial Life in Science Fiction Cinema" on Monday with a screening of "Virtuosity" (1995), starring Denzel Washington, and "Iczer-One Act III: Final Chapter" (1987). Screenings are free and begin at 7: 30 p.m. in Van Bokkelen Hall Auditorium on the Towson campus.

A Towson faculty member will introduce each film and lead the post-screening discussion. For more information, call the Center for the Arts Box Office at 410-830-2787.

Meet Boba Fett

Jeremy Bulloch, who played Boba Fett, the bounty hunter who captured Han Solo in "The Empire Strikes Back" and appeared in "The Return of the Jedi," will be in Baltimore Wednesday and Thursday making appearances at area theaters.

Bulloch, who will appear in "Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace," will be at the Loews White Marsh on Wednesday at 4 p.m. and 6: 30 p.m. and at the Loews Valley Centre at 8 p.m. On Thursday, he will appear at the Loews Glen Burnie at 5 p.m. and at the Columbia Palace at 7: 30 p.m. Bulloch will sign autographs and memorabilia for a fee.

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