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Middletown Life

MOT Film Society celebrates a love of movies

Aug 25, 2015 01:01PM ● By Steven Hoffman

Michael Nazarewycz fondly recalls watching “event” movies like “The Wizard of Oz” and “The Ten Commandments” when he was growing up.

“I was raised on watching old movies on television,” he explained. “Back then, it was whatever you could find on television. There were these great event movies that were on once a year, and you had to plan your schedule to make sure you were home to see them.”

Those classic movies sparked a love for film that continues to this day. Nazarewycz sees about 400 movies per year, and frequently writes reviews of films. He has written for several national and international film websites, and is currently a film critic for Way Too Indie, as well as his own film blog, ScribeHard on Film.

Nazarewycz’s love of movies led him to form the MOT Film Society in December of 2014.

“I wanted to bring more classic movies to the community,” the Townsend, Del. resident explained. “In this area, there is a dearth of small art house screens.”

Once he decided to establish a film society, one of the first things that Nazarewycz did was contact Westown Movies to see if he could hold screenings of some of the best movies in the new, state-of-the-art theater. He also worked with the Everett Theatre to arrange other showings in the distinctive theatre in the heart of Middletown.

“They have both been terrific partners,” Nazarewycz explained.

Throughout the first half of 2015, 15 movies have been screened, including such beloved classics as “E.T.,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Casablanca,” “The Breakfast Club” and “Jaws.”

“Jaws is a different movie on the big screen,” he explained. “I was really blown away by that experience. Part of the experience of going to a theater is that communal connection that you get. There is something powerful about that.”

People between the ages of 5 and 85 have been showing up for the $5 screenings of the movies, and Nazarewycz said that certain kinds of movies are naturals to be screened.

“You want to select movies with broad appeal,” he explained. “Some of the best movies that I’ve ever seen wouldn’t get five people to a screening. The first movie that we screened was “The Wizard of Oz.” That is a special film. It appeals to every age group. The turnout for that was spectacular.”

Nazarewycz selects most the movies that are screened, and the screenings also serve as fundraisers for local non-profit organizations that serve the community. Initially, six charities signed up, and an equal number have since joined up.

Typically, Nazarewycz will speak for a few minutes before a movie, mostly focusing the talk on the charity that will benefit from that particular screening. He gives a lot of credit to the movie theater for making the events successful.

“Westown Movies is very good with social media,” Nazarewycz explained. “They are very engaged with getting the word out about what is happening.”

The Everett Theatre offers a different kind of movie-going experience during screenings there.

“The Everett is an historic theater,” Nazarewycz explained. “It’s got a little Hollywood in it because they shot some scenes of “Dead Poets Society” there. It’s got that open balcony and the old-time movie marquee. The Everett Theatre has the quaint charm of the old-time movie house, and it offers the experience of going to a one-screen movie house.”

Nazarewycz works in systems and analytics during the day, but devotes a fair amount of his free time to movies. He follows them the way that some people follow sports. The arrival of a trailer for “Joy,” the David O. Russell film that reunites Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, has him looking forward to the Christmas Day release.

“I’m very much looking forward to that movie because of the creative trio,” he explained.

As the founder of the MOT Film Society, Nazarewycz is always looking for opportunities to promote discussion about movies.

One of his goals is to have the MOT Film Society to be comparable to a book club, with participants watching a movie instead of reading a book, but then discussing it.

Another thing that he would like to be able to do at some point is to work with local schools to show movies like “To Kill A Mockingbird” to students. A discussion could be facilitated comparing the movie to the book.

“That would be one way to get younger people involved in film,” he explained.

Another one of Nazarewycz’s goals is to establish an official membership for the MOT Film Society. This could happen as early as 2016. He doesn’t envision a membership fee of any kind; the only requirement is to be a lover of movies.

“The MOT Film Society is not funded in any way,” Nazarewycz explained. “This is a labor of love for me. I’m in this to spread the appreciation for film.”

Nazarewycz is hard at working planning MOT Film Society's first film festival, the Directed by Women Film Festival, which will take place from Sept. 11-13. Some of the titles confirmed for the festival include major releases like Penny Marshall's “Big,” Nora Ephron's “Sleepless in Seattle,” and Kathryn Bigelow's “The Hurt Locker.” Ida Lupino's classic “The Hitch-Hiker” will also be screened.

Independent movies that will be showcased include Nikki Braendlin's “As High As the Sky,” Catherine Jayasuriya's “Dusty Trail,” Maria Burton's “A Sort of Homecoming,” “Joyce Wu's “She Lights Up Well,” and Nisha Pahuja's “The World Before Her.”

Tickets for the film festival are $5 per screening, or an all-access Festival Pass for $29, which allows holders to see every screening.

For information about how to join the film society or to stay updated on future screenings, check out the MOT Film Society's Facebook Page or email [email protected]

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