“Art House Theater Day” celebrates the experience of cinema

On Sunday, FilmScene celebrates the annual Art House Theater Day, which celebrates the experience of cinema that has been somewhat forgotten in a digital age.

Harry Westergaard, Arts Editor, Co-Copy Editor


This Sunday, September 24th, Iowa City’s own Filmscene will participate in the worldwide celebration of Art House Theater Day. The event aims to enlighten people on the efforts that go into maintaining an art house cinema, in this highly digital age we live in. The event entails a day of exclusive programming, ranging from a multitude of genres including documentary features, animation, and general films.

Revolting Rhymes (2016)

Dir. Jakob Skhuh

Screens at 10:00 Am

“Revolting Rhymes,” kicks off the day, an animated feature consisting of two shorts adapted from Roald Dahl’s famed fairy tale parodies. Produced by the BBC, and director Jakob Skhuh, who is known for mastering the form of kid’s entertainment in Germany. The shorts are geared towards a younger audience and are a good way to get kids interested in the benefits of an independent art house cinema in an accessible way.


Titicut Follies (1967)

Dir. Frederick Wiseman

Screens at 12:00 PM

Titicut Follies, a controversial documentary from 1967 is getting a rerelease for one day only on Art House Theater Day. The film portrays the inmates of Bridgewater State Hospital, a mental institution for the insane in Massachusetts. It was the first in a series of films Wiseman would direct that examine different institutions in the United States. It’s a rare chance to see this oft-censored documentary film on the big screen this Sunday. In addition, after the film, there will be a recorded discussion with  Frederick Wiseman and director Wes Anderson. This is the only showing for the film, so if you are interested, it would be advised that you get tickets.


Menashe (2017)

Dir. Joshua Z. Weinstein

Screens at 2:30 PM

A story told entirely in Yiddish, and shot intimately in Brooklyn, “Menashe” tells the story of an aging store owner, who must fight for the custody and faith of his only son after his wife dies. The film is a bittersweet comedy, a classic father and son story seen from a perspective that doesn’t always get precedence in the media. The film draws some semi-autobiographical experiences from Director Weinstien’s own childhood. If you aren’t available to see it on Art House theater day, the film is also showing Friday the 22nd at 12:00 PM and has showtimes for a full week after.


Whose Streets? (2017)

Dir. Sabaah Folayan

Screens at 5:00 PM Sunday

A look into the tragic killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and the ensuing uprising, is presented in the new documentary “Whose Streets?” The film looks into the killing with footage that was taken live when the event happened. It was originally conceived by the director, Sabaah Folayan as a news story. However, she was struck by the power of what she was witnessing and realized that there was no way to do it justice in the printed medium. If you can’t make it to the showing on Art House theater day (Sunday, the 24) the film is also playing Friday the 22nd at 12:00 PM, and goes into a full run the week after.


Lucky (2017)

Dir. John Carroll Lynch

Screens at 7:30 PM Sunday


“Lucky” is a first and a last. It is the directorial debut of character actor John Carroll Lynch, and also one of the last films to star the recently deceased Harry Dean Stanton. The film’s title character (Stanton)  journeys across the United States in a spiritual quest. Along the way, he encounters strange eccentric individuals, played by the likes of David Lynch (frequent Stanton collaborator), Tom Skerritt, and Ed Begley Jr. The film looks promising, with it’s odd premise and wide array of character actors participating. It will certainly be a one of a kind experience, given new precedence with the recent passing of Stanton. The film screens just once, at 7:30 PM next Sunday.

Art House Theater Day is a unique experience, with something for everyone. If you love film, even in the most casual sense, you should consider attending. It’s for a good cause, showing love and support for the classic community based experience at the movies that is easily forgotten in this digital age. It’s the perfect time to drop by Filmscene, especially if you haven’t done so before, and get immersed in another place and time for a couple hours.