Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


February 13, 2014

No movie theater, no problem

Film screenings popping up all across town


Wonderland closed years ago while another movie theater in town, the Colonial, was gone by 1937, according to old issues of the Andover Townsman. It was located where the Memorial Hall Library parking lot is today.

Thoday longs for those nostalgic days.

“Yes, I wish Andover had a movie theater ... a lot of people do,” he said.

But movie clubs like the one at Faith Lutheran may be the next best thing, he said.

Faith Lutheran’s next movie night is planned for Friday, Feb. 21, at 6:30 p.m. It will feature “Witness to the Prosecution,” the 1957 Agatha Christie tale directed by Billy Wilder and starring Marlene Dietrich.

The church is by no means the only local venue turning movie theater-for-a-night. The Rogers Center at Merrimack College in North Andover has a Wednesday night film series, Memorial Hall Library has a Monday night series, the Center at Punchard shows movies twice a week and the Unitarian Universalist Congregation on Locke Street sponsors monthly movies. Most are free or have nominal admission fees.

Karen Payne-Taylor, program coordinator at The Center at Punchard, said organizers of its BommerVenture Screening Room scour various websites and publications for the latest Independent and award-winning films that are not screened locally to offer viewers a unique line-up of movies. The center also presents the Academy Award-winning films as soon as they are released.

“It’s lots of fun to have the opportunity to show those films that many of us would like to see — but are not able to drive to Boston or Cambridge to catch,” she said. “We do have a loyal band who enjoy meeting together to watch and discuss the films, and some lively discussion ensues. Almost every week we attract a new person.

Volunteers Lois Karfunkel and Phoebe Kwass keep the series going. They are involved with choosing the films and getting the word out, Payne-Taylor said.

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