A city of Santa Clarita workshop series is inviting Greg Laemmle, president of the movie theater chain that bears his last name, to a discussion of movies and the movie industry later this month in Santa Clarita.
“An Evening with Greg Laemmle” also plans to discuss the history of Laemmle Theatres, as well as emerging trends in the art house cinema business.
“We’re going to talk about the family history, the history of exhibition,” Laemmle told The Signal this week in an interview. “People may have questions about moviegoing in general, separate from the specifics of Laemmle Theaters.”
The Laemmle family has been involved with moviemaking as long as there have been screens showing motion pictures. Kurt and Max Laemmle starting the eponymous theater chains in 1938, and their uncle was Carl Laemmle, who founded Universal Pictures, and is considered an industry pioneer for his contributions.
“Hopefully, it’s going to be a wide-ranging discussion,” Laemmle said. “It’s not going to be a lecture — at least, I hope not. I’m not preparing one,” he added with a laugh.
The current Laemmle Theatres project in Santa Clarita has not started construction yet strategically, he said in an interview this week, noting that the theater would be built after the surrounding courtyard was built. He mentioned wanting to avoid making moviegoers have to walk through a pending construction site before attending a show, which happened when a previous theater was built before the rest of the surrounding project was completed.
Speaking generally, the unique experience Laemmle Theatres offers involves their movie selections and the atmosphere, Laemmle said this week.
“The programming can be a little more independently minded — we’re going to play stuff like “The Post,” and whatever films from the major studies that are Oscar-nominated quality films, there will be also, “The Shape of Water” and “Three Billboards” and “I,Tonya,” and films from smaller distributors that might not be playing anywhere else in the (Santa Clarita Valley), so that’s No. 1; but also, a lower key environment. There are amenities that people like that we tend to not get into because we think of movie going ‘as it used to be,’ he added. “Come find your seat, get there earlier, we don’t do reserve seating.”
The end result is a more traditional, and less expensive, experience, he said.
The evening is part of “New Heights,” a program from the city of Santa Clarita that will offer five such presentations throughout the year, according to city officials.
“An Evening with Greg Laemmle” is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 22, from 7-9 p.m.
Each program will take place at The MAIN, the city-run theater in downtown Newhall.
More information is available on the city’s arts website.