WATERVILLE — In preparation for its relocation to the Paul J. Schupf Art Center in downtown Waterville, the Maine Film Center announces the final film series at its Railroad Square Cinema location, “The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship.” Running Nov. 12-23, the film series includes several fan favorites, important milestones in cinema history, and interactive screenings. The series is named for the famous final line in “Casablanca,” the first film to have screened at Railroad Square and the celebratory final film, which will be screened as part of a special closing night gala on Nov. 23.
“Bidding a more-than-fond farewell to our longtime home in Railroad Square with this series of cinematic highlights will be a nostalgic yet joyous way to celebrate our many decades there with some of our audience’s favorite films,” said co-founder Ken Eisen. “At the same time, it’s a wonderful way to point towards our new location in the Paul J. Schupf Art Center, which will be a truly dazzling place for everyone to take the love of film even further.”
Railroad Square Cinema, founded by Eisen, Gail Chase, Lea Girardin, Alan Sanborn and Stu Silverstein, opened its doors in 1978, showing films with World War II projectors purchased from an Army surplus store. In 1994, the cinema was heavily damaged in a fire, and the current cinema building opened in 1995. This present location will close on Nov. 23 and transition into the Maine Film Center’s new three-screen location in the Paul J. Schupf Art Center, which will open to the public on Dec. 17.
“Just as the building we built in 1995 and will soon be leaving was a huge advance from the one we started the theater with in 1978, this move will really help us bring the beauty and power of the art of cinema to newfound heights in Maine,” said Eisen.
“We could never have imagined that the cinema would still be in existence 44 years later. The new facility at the Paul J. Schupf Art Center would have been beyond our wildest dreams!” said Alan Sanborn, co-founder and theater manager of Railroad Square Cinema. “Home to a lifetime of memories, I’ll certainly miss Railroad Square, but I’m looking forward to an untold number of new ones on Main Street.”
“Art-house cinemas enhance the cultural life and economic vitality of their communities,” said Mike Perreault, executive director of the Maine Film Center. “They provide artistic inspiration, serve as a point of community pride, and provide a forum for conversations that are important to people from all walks of life. For so many, Railroad Square Cinema has exemplified these values for 44 years, and that’s just the beginning of what the Maine Film Center intends to do for decades to come.”
From now through Nov. 23, patrons are invited to the lobby of Railroad Square Cinema, where they can take instant-photo selfies and share Railroad Square memories to be displayed at the Maine Film Center in the Paul J. Schupf Art Center.
A complete lineup of “The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship” film series is below:
“Harold and Maude” (1971) Nov. 12 at 7 p.m.
“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (2004) Nov. 13 at 7 p.m.
“Hairspray” (1988), Nov. 14 at 7 p.m.
“Breathless” (1960) Nov. 15 at 7 p.m.
“Wings of Desire” (1987) Nov. 16 at 7 p.m.
“La La Land” (2016) Nov. 17 at 7 p.m.
“The Last Waltz” (1978) Nov. 18 at 7 p.m.
“Thelma & Louise” (1991) Nov. 19 at 7 p.m.
“King of Hearts” (1966) Nov. 20 at 7 p.m.
“Do the Right Thing” (1989) Nov. 21 at 7 p.m.
Interactive screening of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (1975) Nov. 22 at 7 p.m.; participation kits will be available at the door for $5.00
Railroad Square Closing Night Gala and screening of “Casablanca” (1942) Nov. 23 at 7 p.m.
Tickets for all titles are $10.50 for adults, $8.50 for students, seniors, and military, and $7.50 for children 12 and under. Waterville Creates members receive a 15 percent discount. All screenings are eligible for the Youth Arts Access Fund. Advance ticket reservations are recommended. More information is available at MaineFilmCenter.org.
The Maine Film Center brings world-class independent film to Maine through the only Sundance Art House Project cinema in the state; the annual Maine International Film Festival, a 10-day celebration that attracts filmmakers and film lovers from around the world; and by delivering impactful, accessible exhibitions and education programs. MFC is a division of Waterville Creates. For more information visit MaineFilmCenter.org.