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Our View: What’s lacking in local theaters

Posted: March 4, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: March 4, 2012 2:00 a.m.
 


With the Oscars now past, we can look back on the inspirational, artistic, moving, brilliant films of the last year that were nominated for Best Picture and reflect on what they said, how they said it and what they mean to us. Unfortunately, almost none of them made an appearance on a screen in the SCV before the Academy Awards.

The Santa Clarita Valley is home to many film-industry professionals. It’s the physical backdrop for dozens of features each year. It hosts one of the top art/animation colleges, which has sent hundreds of graduates into the industry. And it’s a short drive from the film capital of the world. So, one should be able to safely assume that the SCV has a vibrant and thriving film scene, with all manner of silver-screen entertainment being celebrated.

Wrong.

The SCV’s two movie theaters — one in Valencia and one in Canyon Country, both owned by the Edwards chain — only seem to show a small handful of what’s available in the box office at any given time. And, generally, the movies featured are just the same mainstream films that can be found anywhere.

That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with taking the family to see “Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked” or similar movies, but the lack of variety in such a film-friendly place is nothing short of puzzling.

A very telling example of irony of this practice is the fact that props from the William S. Hart Mansion were featured in this year’s Best Picture-winner “The Artist.” However, SCV residents who wanted to see the aforementioned film were forced to go out of town because it wasn’t featured here until after it had already been crowned, thus not allowing locals to judge for themselves which film is most deserving.

Whether it takes construction of a new independent theater or production companies working out a deal with Edwards, we need access to art films, especially when so many other cities of similar or smaller size in Southern California, such as Lancaster, don’t have the same issue.

It’s just about impossible to see any independent, art-house or foreign films in SCV theaters. And, besides being annoying for film connoisseurs, the local economy loses out when people have to leave the area to get what they want.

If a couple wants to have a date night to see one of the critically lauded art films released each year, they end up buying dinner and movie tickets in Simi Valley or Sherman Oaks or elsewhere instead of putting that money into SCV businesses.

If art-movie dates are common, that amounts to potentially hundreds of dollars that leave the SCV. Now multiply that many times over for all of the residents who have to head out of town to see the movies they want.

It just makes sense for a place with such a film history, a place with so many residents involved in the industry and a place with so much production going on to support more than a narrow slice of the film world.

Let’s help to celebrate our film heritage and the art form by giving SCV residents a chance to experience it where they live.

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