‘Movies that wouldn’t normally play in our small towns’

Empire Film Festival to feature story-focused, Oscar-nominated films
Thursday, March 14, 2019

Courtesy of Bill Campbell

“Beautiful Boy” will play at the Empire Twin Theaters at 4:30 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. on Thursday, March 14.

Courtesy of Bill Campbell

“The Favourite” will play at the Empire Twin Theaters at 4:30 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. on Thursday, April 4.

Courtesy of Bill Campbell

“On the Basis of Sex” will play at the Empire Twin Theaters at 4:30 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. on Thursday, March 21.

Courtesy of Bill Campbell

“BlacKKKlansman” will play at the Empire Twin Theaters at 4:30 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. on Thursday, April 11.

Courtesy of Bill Campbell

“Green Book” will play at the Empire Twin Theaters at 4:30 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. on Thursday, March 28.

Courtesy of Bill Campbell

“Can you ever Forgive Me?” will play at the Empire Twin Theaters at 4:30 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. on Thursday, April 18.

The spring Empire Film Festival is here, which means that every Thursday for the next six weeks Livingston residents can catch something besides mainstream blockbusters and super-hero movies on their local big screen.

Empire Twin Theaters Manager Bill Campbell — not to be confused with the local photographer and journalist of the same name — brought the idea for the twice-annual festival with him when he took over management of the Empire three years ago. Campbell also runs a movie theater company in Sheridan, Wyoming.

“The idea is to play movies that wouldn’t normally play in our small towns,” Campbell said. “But don’t go too obscure.”

Of this spring’s choices — “Beautiful Boy,” “On the Basis of Sex,” “Green Book,” “The Favourite,” “BlacKKKlansman,” and “Can you ever Forgive Me?” — all except “Beautiful Boy” and “On the Basis of Sex” were nominated for Oscars, and three of the other four won.

“They’re great stories, great story telling,” said Campbell. “They’re small films that don’t have the mass audience appeal. It’s a chance to watch a movie on the big screen, which is always the best place to watch.”

The festival, which happens in the spring and the fall, is scheduled to make the best of the lulls in the theater season, between what Campbell called “the Thanksgiving product” and “the summer product.”

The festival kicks off Thursday, March 14 with “Beautiful Boy,” a film based on the memoirs of a father and son that chronicles the experience of a family coping with addiction over many years.

“On the Basis of Sex,” which chronicles the early years of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, will play on Thursday, March 21.

“Green Book,” in which a working-class Italian-American bouncer becomes the driver for an African-American classical piano player on a tour of venues through the 1960s American South, will play on Thursday, March 28.

“The Favourite,” an 18th century period drama about power struggles and sex in the palace of Queen Anne of England, will play on April 4.

“BlacKKKlansman,” based on the true story of a black police officer who infiltrates a branch of the Ku Klux Klan, will play April 11.

“Can you ever Forgive Me?” a biographical film based on the confessional memoir of a struggling writer who turns to deception and forgery to make money, will play April 18.

Showtimes for all films in the festival are 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.