Film society hosting dinner & a movie

Category:  The Arts
Wednesday, February 12th, 2020 at 9:18 PM

The Film Society of Northwestern Pennsylvania will continue to host Film Grain events this spring at Erie’s Bourbon Barrel bar and restaurant. Film Grain events operate as your traditional “dinner and a movie,” with a buffet-style meal before the eventual screening on the bar’s projector and large screen setup.

Upcoming screenings include the following, all either Oscar-winning or nominated:

— “Harriet,” Feb. 19

— “Parasite,” Feb. 26

— “Jojo Rabbit,” March 4

— “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” March 11

— “Knives Out,” March 18

The events typically begin at 6 p.m., with doors opening at 5:30. 

John Lyons, Edinboro alumnus and employee in the university’s information technology services, is the director of programming of the film society (a non-profit). He has also previously led programming initiatives like FILM at the Erie Art Museum and the Edinboro Film Series. He’s also a filmmaker himself.

When programming Film Grain, Lyons does his best to pick the movies he believes people should see. According to him, “When we were at the Erie Art Museum, I did kind of focus more on independent art house movies. Now it’s more mainstream since moving to the Bourbon Barrel, so now I’m trying to anticipate which ones will be nominated for Oscars.”

As part of the programming, Lyons is also trying to include more panels to coincide with the films. On Earth Day, April 22, they will be showing “Dark Waters,” based on a true story about the forever chemicals in water supplies. The Guardian described “forever chemicals” as a group of compounds that do not naturally break down, and there is no known way to destroy them once inside a supply. Lyons will be partnering with the Green New Deal Coalition, as well as a few other environmental groups in the area for the event. 

Recently, they also welcomed The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to speak after a screening of “Joker.”

Lyons and Erika Berlin, the executive director of the film society, work together as co-hosts for the Wednesday night events. They have sold out on multiple occasions, which totals to 120 people attending, and tickets are priced differently depending on where you’d like to sit. If you’d like to sit at a table, it’s $14; to sit on a couch, it’s $18; for students, it’s a flat $10. Contact the film society ahead of time for discount information. Both dinner and dessert are prepared with a menu sent out a day or two in advance.

“A lot of the people that attend our screenings are a part of the film community, so there will be filmmakers there and actors and stuff, said Lyons. “You can meet people there that appreciate movies which can help build your audience.” He emphasized that many people in the industry would need these opportunities to be able to push forward. 

“A lot of times when a local filmmaker comes out with a movie that they made, we will show their film as a part of our series so they can get their work out there. They can get at least 60, or 80 people to see it who wouldn’t have heard of their movie. They also get a chance to do a Q&A, talk with the audience and stuff.” 

Lyons concluded with a final thought on local filmmakers. “It’s a big part of our program when someone finishes something; it’s nice to get the chance to showcase it.”

Visit for more information on the events and other ways the society aims to help local filmmaking. 

Tags: film society

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