Movie houses purchased by civic-minded volunteers in Frankfort and Suttons Bay show the resiliency - and love of culture – UpNorth.
Frankfort’s Garden Theater was in sad shape and appeared destined to be torn down (if it didn’t collapse first). A group of more than two dozen citizens bought the property in 2008 to keep that from happening. Later, the non-profit group, Friends of the Garden Theater, came into being, launched a fundraising campaign, and then purchased the landmark. The group has just finished extensive renovations, starting with a new roof and handicapped-accessible features.
That major accomplishment will be celebrated at a grand reopening (and the start of the Frankfort Film Festival) on October 20. The event will feature trailers for the festival’s extensive list of award-winning films that will be shown during the following days. The movie roster includes Beans, Shirley, Dear Comrades!, The Truffle Hunters, Night of the Kings, Limbo, Sweat, Quo Vidas, Aida? The Reason I Jump, Not Going Quietly, Two of Us, Swan Song, Some Kind of Heaven, Language Lessons, The Hidden Life of Trees, and The Perfect Candidate. Additional films might be added. Consult FrankfortGardenTheater.com for details.
Citizens in Suttons Bay also rallied to breathe new life into their historic theater. The Bay Theatre, which had served the community for more than 70 years, was set to be closed down. In 2019 a new non-profit, the Bay Community Theatre, purchased the structure and, with help from a small paid staff and many volunteers, took over the operation. Attendance grew to more than 17,000 visitors in pre-pandemic 2019. For details about Fall and Winter events, see thebaytheatre.com. (A tip: the spelling is old school – Theatre.)
Today, the Bay Theatre shows a steady stream of movies, often for one week or more. On October 28 and 29, a silent film mini-festival will include the 1922 epic, Nosferatu, and Hitchcock’s 1927 classic, The Lodger. Both nights will feature live music.
A showing of the film The Truffle Hunters on November 8 will include a follow-up discussion with chefs. On November 11, Veterans Day, Petosky documentarian George Colburn’s film, Ike - the Making of an American Hero, will run.
Both theaters also host concerts, Christmas events, and private parties.