Questions for Jeanine Fritz, Manager of Boulder Outdoor Cinema
Jeanine Fritz took over as productions manager for the Boulder Outdoor Cinema in 2004 for Dave Riepe, after two years with the cinema. Reipe, who created the outdoor cinema, as we know it today, added music, trivia and other pre-show entertainment. Fritz has also worked with a number of film festivals, critiqued films and film festivals for the Camera and does any other kind of movie-related work she can get.
The Camera got a chance to talk to Fritz about the BOC and her love for movies:
Why did you get involved with the Boulder Outdoor Cinema?
Well, because I love movies ... I'd just go there after work on Fridays and hang out with [Dave], and I knew all the guys in concessions, so, we'd just hang out and watch a movie. I think that summer they needed someone to run the gate for them so I did that, and then I ended up just falling into it.
What goes in to picking the movies you show for the BOC?
When I'm programming, what I'm trying to do is not pander to the lowest common denominator -- I don't want to throw in a big, silly film that everybody will kind of like. I try really hard to find more niche films that specific people will come out in droves for. I try to throw in a musical every year, try to do something scary, something for the kids, try to mix it up a little bit. For this year, what I did was I hit up everybody I knew who was a big, fat nerd for film ... and then average people -- people with kids, people without kids -- and I said, "Give me three movies that you'd like to see at the Boulder Outdoor Cinema." And then, obviously, we get suggestions from our audience via the Web site too, so all of that sort of goes into cobbling together this massive list. So, about February I think I had 200 films I was working with, and I just kept whittling it down ... . Then, I would re-submit it out to everybody for a vote. So it was kind of democratic and then there's some executive decisions made.
Why is BOC now screening only on Saturdays?
The first few years when Dave was running it he did Saturdays only and then maybe 10 years ago he started doing Fridays and Saturdays. I think people know the past couple years we've had some trouble just keeping going. Financially, the cost of operating has gone up a little bit and the distribution rights have gone up a fair amount so it's more expensive to do it, and yet we're getting less in donations, in general. The question is how can we bump up our head counts? And one thing that we were thinking is that maybe we were spreading ourselves too thin. If you're on a Friday and a Saturday, and you're doing 24 movies in the span of three months, besides somebody like me, who's gonna go to 24 movies in a summer? So, it seemed like maybe that was the thing to do.
Why is it important to have things like the BOC?
I think Boulder Outdoor Cinema is ... it's like a Boulder tradition. People move to Boulder and there's certain things that you've got to check off your I'm in Boulder checklist. And I feel like Boulder Outdoor Cinema -- it's been around for 14 years now -- it's probably one of the things that ... people need to check out. And I think there's a real difference between ... the experience of being, say, in a traditional movie theater versus being at the Boulder Outdoor Cinema, or even a film festival, is the sense of community that you get. You're in a movie theater and there's no talking -- you're not going to answer your phone, you're not going to yell to your friend, hopefully. You just don't do that; there are rules, there's etiquette ... (if) you go to a regular movie theater, you're not gonna get an eclectic evening, you're not gonna get (to see) a reggae band play and then a belly dancing performance and "Yellow Submarine," I don't even know if anyone shows "Yellow Submarine" on the big screen anymore. So it's that kind of stuff that makes it different and special and an experience.
What do you see in the future for the BOC?
I don't know. That really is gonna depend on how the season goes. I know that I'm not the only one in Boulder County that has a fierce love for the BOC but the question is, "Are there enough of us to show up and keep it going?" We have to be able to cover our operating expenses and if we could make a little bit of money that would be nice. So, I don't know; yeah, it's just gonna depend on whether or not the rest of Boulder is as impassioned for this as I am.