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“Kiss Me c/Kate” Discussion Series at The Gateway

Walker Evans Walker Evans “Kiss Me c/Kate” Discussion Series at The Gateway
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The Gateway Film Center is currently mid-way through hosting an six-week film discussion series called “Kiss Me c/Kate”, which features films starring actresses Kate Hepburn, Kate Winslet and Cate Blanchett.

We recently interviewed series hosts Clay Lowe (Associate Professor Emeritus of the OSU Theatre Department and 8-year host of “It’s Movie Time” on WCBE-FM) and Kelly Gingery (Mix Flick Chick for Mix 107.9 FM) to find out more about this series.

Walker Evans: Tell us a bit about the inspiration behind “Kiss Me c/Kate”.

Clay Lowe: This is the third series I’ve produced for the Gateway Film Center, the first two were shown in Gateway’s Black Box to a small group of local filmmakers and actors drawn from the OSU Theatre and Friends Film – Discussion Group on Facebook. Series one featured the films of David Cronenberg; series two focused on films starring Isabella Rossillini. This current series, “Kiss Me c/Kate” was created and co-hosted by Kelly Gingery and I because we both love seeing movies with an audience in a theatre, and then enjoy a lively discussion of the film afterward. We bought screening rights for the seven films in the “Kiss Me c/Kate” series so we could advertise and promote this series more widely in the Columbus market, and hopefully share this passion with a great number of other film lovers around Columbus.

WE: Was it a coincidence to put together these great films starring leading actresses named c/Kate or was that planned from the start?

CL: No coincidence for me. I was a bit dissatisfied with last year’s Best Actress nominations and I wanted to feature these three super-talented stars to show today’s audiences what ‘great’ acting is really all about. These particular three c/Kates, with their shared first names, provided us with an opportunity to not only show off their acting abilities, but gave us a clever way to promote the films as well.

Kelly Gingery: Really, one of the main goals for me was to create a film series celebrating women and a few of the truly great actresses from the past and present. Clay and I had breakfast one morning many months ago and I shared my frustration at the lack of great roles for women in mainstream Hollywood films of today. I get very discouraged about the term “Chick Flick” and how it is used to classify almost any film with a female lead, and bandied about today as a negative. In the not-so-distant past, “Women’s Pictures” were not only popular with both genders and widely produced, they starred many of Hollywood’s greatest actresses and were quite successful at the box office. Our discussion quickly turned to a few of the fabulous actresses that we really enjoyed, and those who had successfully resisted some of Hollywood’s typical typecasting. Realizing that Kate Hepburn, Kate Winslet and Cate Blanchett were all at the top of both of our lists, we shared ideas on some of their truly iconic roles, and the “Kiss Me c/Kate” film series was soon created.

WE: What sort of educational and discussion component can be found at these events?

CL: Employing techniques developed during an eight year stint as programmer and co-host of the film series at the Columbus Museum of Art, Kelly and I (we’ve only known each other about six months, by the way) discovered that our differing approaches to these films made us a perfect team. Obviously, we start out with different perspectives on gender, then not so obviously, she loves the behind-the-scenes facts, plot lines, and production details; whereas I go for a more intuitive personal response from our audiences. Secondly, we worked together to select members from the arts community in Columbus (critics, filmmakers, actors, educators, etc.) to help us with the post-film discussions. It’s been most rewarding to us all.

WE: How’s the reaction been so far during the first couple films?

KG: We’ve had four screenings in our series so far, and the reactions have been great. The audiences have been very diverse and interested in the films, as well as the discussions afterward. Attendees have been local actors, directors, educators and members of the media, as well as film lovers and fans who just want to see these great films the way they were meant to be seen… in the dark on the big screen with an interested and engaged audience. Our post-screening discussions have been lively and entertaining, with participation from most everyone. We even had an elderly gentleman approach us after our screening of THE PHILADELPHIA STORY with Katherine Hepburn to tell us that it was the first time he had been in a theater in 35 years and he had forgotten how fun it was and had thoroughly enjoyed himself. Needless to say, we were thrilled! It’s rewarding for Clay and me to have created and worked on this series as a labor of love, and then receive such enthusiastic and positive feedback, and have so many people return for multiple screenings. It truly is a fun group of people who have been coming out to enjoy and participate in this series.

WE: Tell us a little bit about the three films still coming up.

KG: We have three films remaining in our series, all screenings are Sundays at 2 pm at the Gateway Film Center:

THE ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND (Sunday, June 13th) – This unusual film has a spot on many favorite film lists. It’s a thoroughly modern romance with a sci-fi twist. Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet play a dysfunctional couple who undergo a procedure to erase each other from their minds when their relationship turns sour. Arguably one of Jim Carrey’s best roles, it’s Winslet who truly shines as his enigmatic girlfriend Clementine, and she was nominated for Best Actress as a result.

ELIZABETH (Sunday, June 20th) – This truly exciting story of Queen Elizabeth I, from her days as an innocent young woman to her coronation, up to the formation of her reputation as England’s stern “Virgin Queen”, is a lush portrait of history, full of pomp, intrigue, and romance. Anchored by Cate Blanchett’s award-winning performance, this is definitely not your typical historical drama.

I’M NOT THERE (Sunday, June 27) – This film is a dazzling, experimental take on the life of one of popular music’s most revered artists: Bob Dylan. In keeping with the impossible-to-pin-down nature of Dylan himself, the film casts six different actors to portray several incarnations of the groundbreaking troubadour. The result is a challenging, sprawling work that spans several decades and genres. With a cast that includes Heath Ledger, Richard Gere, Christian Bale and Julianne Moore, it’s Cate Blanchett who truly runs away with the picture, and she was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her work.

WE: Are there any plans for a continuation of this series with another theme or group of actors or actresses?

CL: The idea Kelly and I have been discussing has been to continue to explore the work of great actresses, as in the “Kiss Me c/Kate” film series, but to expand it to further include the works of great international actresses. Our next series would include the likes of Brigitte Bardot, Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren, Pam Grier, Penelope Cruz, Gong Li, Maggie Cheung, etc. I’d like to play on the Bardot film “And God Created Woman” title (kicking off the series) and title the series something like “And Then The Gods Created Stars.”

More information can be found at gatewayfilmcenter.com and movieloversonly.com.

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