Nite Owl Theatre Producer Starts David Lynch Program in Miamisburg

Hope Madden Hope Madden Nite Owl Theatre Producer Starts David Lynch Program in MiamisburgPhoto from movie Eraserhead, directed by David Lynch.
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Mike McGraner has been populating local theaters with interesting special programming for years. Whether it’s the long-running and much-beloved Nite Owl Theatre, or his more recent effort, Terror from the Eighties, the Columbus native is always looking for new ways to entertain local filmgoers.

But he takes his talents a bit outside the area for his newest series. This month, the Emmy-winning producer of Nite Owl Theatre heads to Miamisburg to launch a director series with a look at filmmaker David Lynch’s canon.

McGraner will premiere the new program at the Plaza Theatre (33 South Main St. Miamisburg, OH 45342), a venue that also hosts Nite Owl Threatre once a month.

How did the new series come about?

Plaza Theatre’s Executive Director Emily von Stuckrad-Smolinski told McGraner, “’I’m looking for programming for 2018,’” he remembers. “And I said, ‘I have this one thing, and I’m really passionate about it, and I’ve been wanting to do it for 4 years.’ She said, ‘Done.’”

McGraner’s vision—one he had trouble convincing local theaters to take a chance on—is a complete, sequential program of David Lynch’s features.

“I want to do it for several directors,” McGraner says, explaining his decision to focus on Lynch because there are so many of his films that most moviegoers have not seen, certainly not on a big screen.

“I have always loved David Lynch, and I’ve always wanted to see his films in a theater,” McGraner says.

McGraner credits Lynch with kickstarting his interest in filmmaking.

“It all started when I was 9 watching the Twin Peaks pilot,” he says. “When you watch a David Lynch film, it can pull every single emotion out of you. It can scare you to death, it can make you cry, it can pull a memory from your youth and make you sentimental. It’s so absurd and so surreal. He’s the only filmmaker who takes you through every single emotion through the course of one movie.”

For the program, McGraner decided not to cherry-pick the auteur’s most celebrated work, but instead to show Lynch’s progression as an artist by exploring every film in the order it was released.

“I thought that seeing the complete work of the director in sequential order would be great,” he says. “It’s kind of a way to look at a person’s career and the choices they made, and watch their technique grow and change.”

Though he’d originally hoped to screen the program in Columbus, he’s thrilled to have found a home in Miamisburg.

“The Plaza Theatre is a 300-seater,” he says. “It’s beautiful. They restored it. It looks brand new.”

Check out David Lynch’s feature film debut, Eraserhead, Saturday, February 23 at 8 p.m. The rest of Lynch’s catalog will screen in order once a month, but McGraner has more in store than simply the feature. He’s planned a film-specific special program to accompany each film, including a look at Lynch’s short films, concert footage and bonus materials.

Tickets are just $5.

For tickets and information, visit Plaza Theatre’s website.

Read more from Hope at MADDWOLF and listen to her horror movie podcast, FRIGHT CLUB.

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