After a roughly two-year hiatus, film screenings have returned to Huntsville’s Algonquin Theatre.
Local non-profit Reel Alternatives Huntsville (RAH) kicked things off with historical drama film Belfast on April 18, the first in a series of bi-monthly screenings.
Around 150 people made it out to the inaugural showing, according to RAH Past President Rob Saunders. Saunders says he’s thrilled with the turnout.
“Given the fact that we’re often screening films that if you really wanted to search, you’d be able to find somewhere else: 120, 150, 200, those are great numbers. So I was very happy with last night’s performance,” says Saunders.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization’s home screen was the Capitol Theatre, which closed permanently in early 2021.
The Algonquin Theatre is no stranger to hosting films and film festivals. Saunders says RAH has screened films there on several occasions, and he has no doubt the new venue is up to standard.
“They’ve shown lots of films, and it’s a great place to see a film: nice soft seats, good sight lines, good sound. So we’re not concerned at all, it’s a great place,” says Saunders. “The reality is, it’s the only game in town. The good thing is, it’s a good game. So there’ll be other film groups.”
On April 19 and 20, Algonquin Outfitters will host the Banff Mountain Film Festival, bringing outdoor exploration and sport films to the theatre. On May 9, Reel Alternatives will screen Night Raiders, an Indigenous-focused sci-fi film from 2021’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) last year. The Vinland Club, a French-Canadian historical drama, screens May 30, with more films to be announced at a later date.
Saunders says the organization also plans to join the TIFF Film Circuit, likely around September, which would give them better and quicker access to films from the festival.
“When you see the TIFF films, there’s 300, 400 films screened over a week and a half period,” says Saunders. ”There’s some brilliant films that nobody ever has access to see, so by being part of the Film Circuit, we will have access to a much broader range of films than the average person will normally have access to. It’s kind of neat, they get to see a film that they would never have gone to see, and they come out saying ‘hey, that was brilliant, really great experience’.”
According to Saunders, ticket sales help fund RAH’s scholarships for local students going into media and film studies, local artists making movies, and purchases for the entertainment sections at the Huntsville, Dwight, and Baysville public libraries.
You can buy tickets for upcoming events at Algonquin Theatre’s website.