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Maine Film Center to purchase Railroad Square

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WATERVILLE The City of Waterville has spent the past 15 summers serving as a cinematic hub with its acclaimed Maine International Film Festival. The Maine Film Center and Railroad Square Cinema have been long-time partners in bringing this wonderful event to fruition in central Maine.

The Maine Film Center recently announced plans to officially purchase Railroad Square Cinema in an effort to consolidate the many programs and offerings the two entities have put forth and advance the MFC's mission to 'enrich, educate and entertain the community through film and art.'

Railroad Square Cinema first made the scene back in 1978. It is a three-screen theater that has been showing art and independent films for decades. In addition, in 2005 RSC was one of the first dozen movie houses to be selected as part of the Sundance Film Institute's Art House Project, a program designed to celebrate art house theaters nationwide in accordance with the Institute's 25th anniversary.

'It's very exciting,' said Shannon Haines, executive director of the Maine Film Center. '[The purchase] represents years of work for the Maine Film Center.

'First and foremost, we wanted to help stabilize Railroad Square Cinema and provide a change to non-profit status. That means we can apply for grants and more easily gain other forms of funding.'

With the change in ownership will come some new forms of programming, but don't expect the new Railroad Square to be completely different.

'We're going to continue doing Railroad Square programming,' Haines said. 'And of course, we're also going to continue with the Maine International Film Festival. [But] we're also looking into doing some new film series. We'll be trying to do some more children's movies, as well as a Food into Film' series.'

The purchase of Railroad Square also allows the Maine Film Center a new way to advance other aspects of its overall agenda, including bringing more young people into the indie film fold.

'One of our major goals is to try and cultivate a new audience [in the area] for independent film,' said Haines. 'We're looking at the demographics and age groups that we're bringing into the cinema.'

In addition, the Maine Film Center will be presenting a film series at the Waterville Opera House starting in January. This series will take advantage of some new equipment that was installed as part of the recent renovation of the Opera House.

'We recently installed 35 mm film projection equipment,' Haines said. 'We're going to use it to offer a series of classic film screenings at the Opera House.'

The series will feature four films from Sight & Sound's 2012 list of the top 50 films of all time. The first offering will be the Alfred Hitchcock classic 'Vertigo' on Jan. 28.


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