Sebring, Florida: Local Library Promotes the Beauty of Film Through Outdoor Movie Screenings

Outdoor Movies in Sebring, FloridaAll of the Highlands Libraries are now offering free film showings. Here at the Sebring Public Library we have our Saturday afternoon matinee at 2 p.m., with popular family films, and once a month we have our Movies By Moonlight outdoor movie series on our new giant outdoor movie screen that we set up behind the Highlands Art League building. Refreshments are available, or you can lay out a blanket and bring a picnic to enjoy as you watch the outdoor film. Just call your library or stop by for a schedule of upcoming films. See you at the movies. "A good film is when the price of dinner, the theatre admission, and the babysitter were worth it." Alfred Hitchcock, film director (1899-1980) People sometimes ask me why we have videos and DVDs in library. They feel that films are somehow "anti-intellectual" and that real knowledge and self-awareness begins with literature (and ends with literature). Since I don't often have time to address this question fully, being as busy as we are at the front desk, I will take the time now to give my own viewpoint of the great importance of film to a well-ounded, intelligent world view. I understand how wonderful books are. I love books and great literature and want people to explore the many talented authors, interesting stories, and wonderful subject matter that books provide, but I must admit I also have a tremendous fondness and appreciation for film, and I personally believe that films are equally important to a person's education as books. Without them I think my own education would be lopsided and one-dimensional. Recent psychological studies suggest that people tend to learn and perceive the world through predominantly one of the five senses. Some through sight and visual input, some through sound and listening, some through touch and doing things hands-on, some through smell and taste. For those of us who mainly experience the world through the sense of sight and observation, films are a veritable feast, and can even be the way we learn best. While there have been many banal and inane films foisted off on us by Hollywood, there have also been visually beautiful, remarkably interesting, insightful, socially powerful and politically important, thoroughly entertaining, funny and romantic films that have rocked our collective world! A film requires many professional artists all working together, like the choreography of a dance, to produce a good film. Every person who is involved in the making of a film is an artist and storyteller, from the director, to scriptwriters, to the cinematographers, to the production crew, to the costume designers, to the special effects people, and so on. So many talented people are required from start to finish in the making of any one film. In the Highlands Library System we circulate about one film to every four books, or 25 percent of the total circulation. Our patrons appreciate being able to borrow five movies at a time for free from such a wide selection of films, whether they prefer old classics, adventure, suspense, documentaries, westerns, comedy or romance. We have a very diverse selection of both film classics and popular favorites. Though we purchase many films, it has no effect on the number of books we buy. Both genres are integral to a balanced and comprehensive collection. We also have a wonderful selection of children's movies, both recent feature films, older favorites and classics, and hundreds of films which are specifically designed to enhance a child's learning and education. When I was growing up, you could see a double feature at the local theater's Saturday matinee for free, if you brought in 6 RC Cola bottle caps. The films were usually adventure films, pirates and damsels in distress, Tarzan, swordfights and swashbucklers. Some of my very favorites were "Pollyanna," "Swiss Family Robinson," "The Wizard of Oz," and "The Moonspinners;" a little known Disney film with Hayley Mills and Eli Wallach filmed in Greece. Going to the movies with my family was such an integral and happy part of my childhood. Drive-ins were very big back then. I remember playing outside until the mosquitoes got too hungry, then piling up pillows in the backseat so I could see over the front seat. I was always asleep before the second feature. Films have always been a source of relaxation and enjoyment for me. Many great books have been made into films. Some do not do the books justice, and other times a film can make a story come to life even more vividly with breathtaking scenery, good casting, special effects, dialogue, gesture and facial expressions. Great actors and actresses can highlight and make more powerful the emotions of a story, and for me, sometimes, a film can even be preferable to the book. Take Jane Austen's novels for instance. I have tried many times to get into them, as I know that these books are great literature, but the Victorian writing of the time leaves me cold. Trying to wade through the flowery and verbose language prevented me from enjoying and absorbing the story. "Sense and Sensibility" with Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant was a fantastic film and enabled me to get a taste for Jane Austen's talent as a storyteller without having to slog through the novel. Shakespeare's "Hamlet" is another good example. The film made the story available to me when the author's archaic language made the play almost impossible for me to really understand. Another example of the power of film to inform is the movie "Sophie's Choice." While the novel was great and extremely important, nothing has made the nightmare and incomprehensible tragedy of the Holocaust real to me in my own consciousness better than this movie, which stars Meryl Streep as a young mother who is sent to a detention camp with her two children, a boy and a girl, and is forced to choose which one will be sent to die. Films can stay with us our whole lives serving as landmarks in time and memory. Films can take us where we would never get to go in real life, like to the top of Mount Everest, or to the distant planet Tatooine in the "Star Wars" films. Films can awaken our imaginations and move us to change our lives, just as good books do. I am very, very proud that our library system takes film as a genre seriously and provides our members with such a generous, well-chosen, and diverse selection. Even films that may not appeal to one person's taste can make another person inexplicably happy. Films are a reflection of our society, and as with books, it is important for libraries to allow their members to make their own informed decisions as to the value of any given film choice. Source: The Tampa Tribune. Read full article at:

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