Em­pire chain drop­ping Grant Park cinemas

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT - RAN­DALL KING

ABIT of movie-busi­ness news has al­most gone un­no­ticed amid the flurry of cor­po­rate takeovers of the past cou­ple of weeks. The Em­pire Grant Park Cinemas at the Grant Park Shop­ping Cen­tre are ex­pected to shift own­er­ship from Em­pire (the chain is owned by Sobeys, which is get­ting out of the movie busi­ness to con­cen­trate on supermarkets) to Land­mark, the western Cana­dian film ex­hibitor that op­er­ates the Globe and Towne cinemas in Win­nipeg.

The deal will go through in the next two months, says Land­mark chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Neil Camp­bell, a for­mer Man­i­to­ban, who adds Calgary-based Land­mark will also pick up Em­pire properties in Bran­don and Win­kler.

“We’re thrilled to be back in Man­i­toba in a big way,” Camp­bell says.

As far as phys­i­cal changes to the Grant Park Cinemas, Camp­bell says it is too soon to an­nounce spe­cific changes, but one ma­jor up­grade may be in the mul­ti­plex’s fu­ture.

Land­mark op­er­ates a big screen/big sound/big seats cin­ema called Xtreme in one of its Kelowna, B.C., theatres. Watch this space for sim­i­lar an­nounce­ments in the Win­nipeg mar­ket­place.

As far as the types of movies be­ing screened at the Grant Park, Camp­bell ac­knowl­edges that, in the past few years, both the Globe and the Grant Park have been screen­ing art-house movies. Grant Park is cur­rently play­ing Be­fore Midnight and the Globe is screen­ing Frances Ha, The East and Much Ado About Noth­ing.

“I think there will just be more co-or­di­na­tion with which of the two houses the art films will play,” Camp­bell says. “We will be able to con­trol both, so we’ll be able to pick the best lo­ca­tion for each spe­cific film.”

Grant Park’s ac­qui­si­tion does not place ei­ther of the other Land­mark properties in jeop­ardy, he says.

“We’ve spent close to a mil­lion dollars (up­grad­ing) the Towne, over the last four years,” Camp­bell says. As for the Globe: “As long as we can con­tinue to make good deals with the land­lords, we aren’t go­ing any­where.”

Last year, Guy Maddin worked with the cream of Euro­pean ac­tors (Char­lotte Ram­pling, Mathieu Amal­ric, Geral­dine Chap­lin and Udo Kier) on the pro­ject Spiritismes at the Cen­tre Ge­orges Pom­pi­dou in Paris.

As of Thurs­day, Maddin be­gan re­peat­ing that process in Mon­treal’s Phi Cen­tre — shoot­ing a “lost” clas­sic film a day in a mu­seum in front of a live au­di­ence — with the cream of Que­bec ac­tors, in­clud­ing Karine Vanasse, Roy Dupuis, Cé­line Bon­nier, Ca­role Laure and Caro­line Dhav­er­nas. The shoot is ex­pected to take 13 days.

De­scribed as “a film shoot, an ex­pe­ri­ence and an in­stal­la­tion, which will sub­se­quently be­come a film and an in­ter­ac­tive work,” the pro­ject, Seances, pro­ceeds on the premise that most silent film­mak­ers lost at least one film to a twist of fate and the films “have hov­ered like ghosts in search of their fi­nal rest­ing place,” with Maddin act­ing as mid­wife to re­cre­ate the lost films.

Harry Pot­ter fans look­ing for a lit­tle break from their Muggle ex­is­tence might con­sider a trip to Portage la Prairie to­day for a mag­ic­themed event at the Fort la Reine Mu­seum.

In tan­dem with the mu­seum’s cur­rent ex­hibit — Harry Pot­ter’s World: Re­nais­sance Science, Magic and Medicine — the Prairie Wildlife Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­tre is bring­ing owls into the mix with the show Who’s Who: Owls of Man­i­toba & Friends.

Among the at­trac­tions be­tween 1 and 4 p.m. is an “owl pel­let dis­sec­tion ac­tiv­ity.” For $1 per pel­let, par­tic­i­pants can “find out what Hed­wig ate for din­ner.”

For more info, go to www.fort­lareine­mu­seum.ca.


Win­nipeg di­rec­tor Guy Maddin is in Mon­treal work­ing on Seances with the cream of Que­bec ac­tors. The work is in­tended to re­cre­ate a ‘lost’ clas­sic silent film.

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