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Lawrence’s Free State Film Society announces fall lineup and new venue for events

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Lawrence’s Free State Film Society is debuting a new venue for film this fall. 

Using its Microcinema at the 10th & Mass Studios (1000 Massachusetts St.), the Lawrence Arts Center will provide viewers with an “intimate and welcoming atmosphere for film-going,” according to its press release. 

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Marlo Angell, director of the Free State Festival, is excited about the level of intimacy the venue will offer.  

Marlo Angell

“It can provide a really intimate space for connecting people,” she said. 

The 70-seat venue, with high quality sound and projection, will host at least five events this fall. From a “Harold and Maude” screening accompanied by live music and pie to a documentary on food followed by a panel discussion, the events are designed to elevate the cinema experience beyond sitting in the dark. 

“We are combining film screening with food or live music so you’re … really connecting with people and having a night out,” Angell said. “(The fall event lineup) is a great combination of stuff that’s just fun and stuff that’s intellectually stimulating, to provide a wealth of positive events for our community.” 

The Free State Festival originally debuted as the Free State Film Festival, but it expanded to include music and art-related activities. 

The Microcinema will give more space for festival goers to appreciate film in an interactive setting, Angell said. 

Contributed image Microcinema

“These (showings) should have a little bit of a nontraditional cinema feel, not a stuck-to-your-seat feel,” she said. “We want it to be more interactive and interesting and fun to make it so you’re really having an experience.”

Entry for each Microcinema event ranges from $5 to $20. Members of the Free State Film Society can attend events for free or reduced admission prices for an annual subscription of $40. Click here to learn more.

Keep an eye on freestatefestival.org for more film-centric events. Film submissions for Free State Festival 2023 open on Sept. 1.

Here’s the fall lineup:

All information is courtesy of the Free State Film Society. 

Food for the Rest of Us Film Screening and Conversation 

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7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23, Lawrence Arts Center 10th and Mass Studios (1000 Massachusetts St.)

Tickets: $10 or free for Film Society members with an advance reservation

“Just Food and the Free State Festival team up for a screening of Food for The Rest Us followed by a panel discussion with local BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ food leaders as part of Hunger Action Month.”

About the film: “This new documentary presents four stories of people living life on their own terms, leading a culinary revolution from the ground up: an Indigenous-owned youth-run organic farm in Hawaii, a Black urban grower in Kansas City who runs a land-farm at East High School, a female Kosher butcher in Colorado working with the queer community and an Inuit community on the Arctic Coast adapting to climate change with a garden in a small geodesic dome.”

• A Short Tale and a Mocktail: Body Paragraphs, Film, Music & Conversation

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7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7, 10th & Mass Studios

Tickets: $5 film or free for Film Society members with an advance reservation

“Celebrate body positivity with an evening of live music, a fascinating short film, engaging conversation, and a delightful mocktail inspired by the theme of the evening,” according to the release. 

About the film: “When challenged by a rival classmate, a high school student is forced to reflect on her character, ideologies, and body image to the amusement of school administration. Writer/director Erika Lobati transforms her memories as a full figured black woman into an engaging and vibrant story. The film explores the inner psychological struggle of self-esteem in the backdrop of a society that fears unconventional beauty.”

Harold and Maude: Movie, Music and Ginger Pie

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7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21, 10th & Mass Studios

Tickets: $15 (with ginger pie included in the ticket price). Free State Film Society members get 50% off admission. 

“Enjoy a night of existential dark comedy with Cat Stevens-inspired live music by Danny Pound and an unforgettable screening of the cult classic, Harold and Maude.”

About the film: “Working from a script by Colin Higgins, director Hal Ashby tells the story of the emotional and romantic bond between a death-obsessed young man (Bud Cort) from a wealthy family and a devil-may-care, bohemian octogenarian (Ruth Gordon). Equal parts gallows humor and romantic innocence, Harold and Maude dissolves the line between darkness and light along with the ones that separate people by class, gender, and age, and it features indelible performances and a remarkable soundtrack by Cat Stevens.”

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• An Evening with Hari Kondabolu

7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18, Lawrence Arts Center Main Stage, 940 New Hampshire St. Tickets are $20; Free State Film Society members get 50% off admission with advance reservation.

About the artist: “The NY Times has called Hari Kondabolu ‘one of the most exciting political comics in stand-up today’ and described his Netflix special Warn Your Relatives as ‘an incisively funny and formally adventurous hour that reveals a comic in command of his powers.’ In 2017, his truTV documentary The Problem with Apu was released to critical acclaim and spurred a global conversation about race and representation. The Nation called it ‘a devastating critique of the ultimate comedic sacred cow: The Simpsons.’ It is now used in high school, college and grad school curriculums around the US. 

“Hari is a former writer & correspondent on the much loved, Chris Rock produced FX show Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell.”

• Save the date: Holiday Movie Party

Wednesday, Dec. 7 — Title, location and details coming soon. Free admission for Film Society members with advance registration.

• Partner event: Chop & Steele film screening + Found Footage Festival

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7 p.m. doors, 8 p.m. showtime Thursday, Sept. 15 at Liberty Hall, 644 Massachusetts St.

Tickets: $15, available at this link

This event is a partnership between the Free State Festival and the University of Kansas film department. The film is directed and produced by Ben Steinbaumer; produced and filmed by Priest Fontaine Batten, and produced by Katie Steinbauer — all three KU alumni. 

About the film: “From the award-winning filmmakers behind Winnebago Man, Chop & Steele is a feature length comedy documentary about childhood friends turned professional comedians, Nick Prueher and Joe Pickett, the founders of the Found Footage Festival. When Nick and Joe book their gag strongman routine on unsuspecting morning news shows, their pranks go viral and land them in federal court with a vengeful media conglomerate. The stress of the lawsuit and pressure to continue their pranks threatens their livelihood and tests their lifelong friendship. Will they learn their lesson and hang up the pranks for good? Or will they risk it all in the name of laughs?” 

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Chansi Long (she/her), a contributor to The Lawrence Times, has a bachelor of science in mass media from Baker University and a master’s in nonfiction writing from the University of Iowa. She’s been published in the Washington Post, River Teeth and Brevity. She was honored to be named Kansas Writer of the Year by the Winfield Arts and Humanities Council in 2016 for her essay “Lovesick.”

Read more of her work for the Times here.

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