The Fenton Film Series Brings the Community Closer

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December 2012       Issue 2.5

Two friends, John Strayer and Patrick Perfitt, have always enjoyed attending such events as the Toronto Film Festival, the Traverse City Film Festival and now the new Cinetopia Film Festival in Ann Arbor, MI. Three years ago they began investigating the possibility of doing something like a film festival in Fenton. With the help of the generous local merchants and Downtown Development Authority, they had the means. With the really cool Saarinen building and its awesome ballroom right in mid-town, they had the place. With the desire to offer great independent films, foreign films, documentaries, and classic movies, they had the incentive to obtain the movie license they needed to get started! All of this came from their motivation to contribute to the revitalization of downtown!

Both John Strayer and Patrick Perfitt live and work in Fenton. So, choosing Fenton and its awesome, architectural jewel, the Fenton Cultural & Community Center for the theater became the only rational choice! Although they are both involved in all parts of the effort, John Strayer has been primarily responsible for selecting the movies and handling the bookkeeping. Patrick Perfitt has been principally responsible for selecting musicians and musical groups to provide live entertainment in the hour preceding the movies. They also have generous volunteers who help with concessions. Talk about a town that all comes together! This town is the quintessential example of it! Could Fenton Be any Closer?

Besides many interesting and unusual films, which can't be found at the major movie theaters, the concession stand might surprise you too. They’ve been known to offer free food from many generous local restaurants - including coffee and pastries from the Laundry, homemade soda from the Fenton Winery & Brewery, sandwiches from Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches and appetizers from Bangkok Peppers Too. Hungry yet?

The local businesses have proven to be fabulous partners in the event also.

Fenton’s Open Book sponsored the Oscar-nominated film "Winter's Bone" last February and raffled off a free copy of the book too!

Joyful Noise Music Studio co-sponsored a documentary entitled "Standing in the Shadow of Motown"; a riveting story about the local musicians who provided the instrumental music to all of the Motown hit songs. Adding to the fun, the Joyful Noise students performed before the film singing some of the Motown Hits!

Gerych’s co-sponsored "A Man Named Pearl", a documentary about Pearl Fryar, a self-taught gardener from South Carolina whose topiaries gardens are now world-famous. On the weekend following the movie, Gerych's brought Pearl Fryar to Fenton in person, to lecture and give demonstrations about his magnificent gardens. Both the movie and the live presentations were incredibly well attended and wonderfully received!

One of the most exciting activities that the Fenton Film Series seems to generate is the production of short movies created by high school filmmakers from Fenton High School. They are shown before the main attraction. The students and their families proudly attend and engage the audience in a Q & A after the film. What a wonderful way to encourage our youth in the arts! Truly, Fenton has become the hallmark for others to study in this area. The best part of this is that Fenton has just begun!

Look for the classic musical "White Christmas" December 12th. They will be encouraging the audience to sing-a-long with the many great Irving Berlin songs in the movie. The lyrics to these memorable songs will appear onscreen and we hope for a joyful community sing-along for the holidays.

As a grateful community for this wonderful gift to the City of Fenton, let us all thank again the Fenton Downtown Development Authority, Tanglewood Assisted Living & Home Care, Patrick Perfitt-Financial Advisor, Fenton Winery & Brewery, Behind Your Design, The Laundry, Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches, Southern Lakes Parks & Recreation, Comfort Keepers, and Bangkok Peppers Too.

See you at the Movies!

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