Fayette County: Host film festivals for the rest of us, please

Lately, I’ve found that the price of a movie ticket has gone up dramatically. This isn’t because the Fayette-area theaters are charging so much more — it’s because many of the movies I want to see aren’t playing anywhere nearby, so I have to spend extra time and money going to downtown Atlanta to see them.

I’ve schlepped to Midtown and Buckhead to see several award-winning films, including “Food, Inc.” and “The Cove,” that feature important messages that linger long after the popcorn is gone. One of the best things about going to see such movies is that you also get previews of other films that are worth the drive. There’s a whole other theatrical world out there that we suburbanites don’t have easy access to. That’s a shame. We need a cure for multiplex monotony.

Trust me, I’m not an elitist snob. I buy wine based on the appeal of the label, and find most French food (aside from desserts) pretentious and unappetizing. I do, however, enjoy meaningful dramas, offbeat comedies and thought-provoking documentaries, many of which are never shown within 20 miles of Fayette County. Once in awhile I’d like the chance to see a movie that won’t ever be plastered on the side of a fast-food soda cup. (And for the record, I’d also like to have one of those brew-pub theaters nearby; having a beer while watching “I Love You, Man” would be awesome.)

I think it’s important to see, and occasionally take my kids to see, a true “film” versus just a “movie.” I like Ben Stiller and Kate Hudson, but the acting world has bigger talents in smaller pictures. Just because I choose to live OTP doesn’t mean my artistic taste is MIA.

Every year when I watch the Academy Awards, I feel a bit sorry for the independent filmmakers, the ones who have to sprint from the back of the theater to the podium before the polite applause fades. They walk the same red carpet as Brad and Angelina, but not only does no one care what they’re wearing, relatively few people have seen their films. Based on the nomination clips, they seem to be producing movies well worth watching, but by the time they’re available on DVD, I’ve forgotten the titles.

I know that theater chains cater to the masses, but perhaps they’re underestimating their audiences. It would be nice if one of the local multiplexes would have a “Fayette Film Festival” each month featuring a few showings of worthy smaller productions. To paraphrase a vintage hit, “If they showed it, will they come?” I bet quite a few would. Please, just give us a chance to think outside the box office.

Jill Howard Church, a freelance writer, has lived in Fayette County since 1994.