A day off at the movies

Bulletin photo by Stephen Dow

Buffalo High School film club member Rowan Heil serves up popcorn. The next film club showing, which is free and open to the public, will be at 7 p.m. April 16.

Poor Ferris Bueller never got his day off in Buffalo.

Buffalo’s Bison Theater closed March 8, 1984 – over two years before Ferris jumped into Cameron’s 1961 Ferrari and lip-synced “Twist and Shout” on a float in the 1986 comedy “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”

Over three decades later, Ferris made up for lost time, courtesy of Buffalo High School’s newly formed film club. The club, which is an offshoot of the high school’s Create club, will bring free community showings of “old” movies and newer independent films to the Buffalo Theater on the first Tuesday of every month. According to club member Marc Wodahl, it was only fitting that Ferris would lead the way as the club’s first showing earlier this month.

“It’s well known, it’s funny, and it has a great sense of humor,” Wodahl said. “It appeals to the younger middle school kids and also the adults who remember growing up with it.”

The high school is launching the film club as a community outreach and as a way to raise awareness about the Create club, Wodahl said. According to club member Massimo Haas, the goal of the film club is to bring movies to Buffalo that may not hit the screen otherwise.

“We’re going to transition into showing recent films that wouldn’t normally be played here,” Haas said. “Some of the smaller independent films.”

Among the films on the docket: Robert Zemeckis’ 2018 film “Welcome to Marwen” and the documentary that inspired it, 2010’s “Marwencol.”

But the club’s ambitions are bigger than just film showings. Haas and Wodahl hope to eventually host a film festival and a “film slam” in which community members can make and show their own films.

“A film slam takes place over a weekend and involves three or four teams of 20 people,” Haas said. “The teams are given a location, a prop and a word to build a story off of. From there, they create a seven-minute film. So while we’re starting with showing films, we want to eventually give people the tools to make their own films.”

Wodahl said he was excited about the film club’s plans and hopes the community comes out to enjoy a free night at the movies.

“Film is a neat medium for expression and a nice way to get into that artistic element,” Wodahl said. “Not everybody has time to read a 700-page book, but everybody can find something to connect to on the big screen. I think it could be a great way for us to come together as a community.”

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