After 80 years of screening foreign films and classics, the Edmonton Film Society is about to show its last film.
Casablanca will be the society's last weekly film screening. It'll show at the Royal Alberta Museum auditorium on Nov. 6th.
The old Royal Alberta Museum in Glenora is officially closing its doors to make way for the new museum to open next year. But the film society hasn't been able to find a suitable new venue for screenings. Additionally, finding new volunteers to run the society has been a struggle.
"A lot of us are getting too old to run the place. Many of the board members are quitting," said Ralph Horak, current board member and former president. "We've been advertising for more volunteers for a couple of years. We haven't been able to get them."
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Horak, 81, became drawn to foreign films when moved to Edmonton in the early 1960s to work as a school teacher. His passion led him to one of the film society's screening at the Jubilee Auditorium.
Foreign films went against the "formula happy ending" of Hollywood, he said.
"A little more thought provoking, and sometimes a tragic ending and that was unusual," Horak said.
Years later, he became president of the society, and was involved in its move to the Royal Alberta Museum auditorium in the 1970s. At that time, foreign films were were prevalent in the city's commercial cinemas, so the society switched their focus to the classic movies of the '30s, '40s and '50s.
'To hear the applause at the end of a movie was another treat.' - Ralph Horak
When speaking about movies from those decades, Horak lights up.
He said he believes the attendees, predominantly seniors, who showed up to the society's weekly screenings shared the same passion.
"We showed a Hitchcock film called Notorious and the audience loved it, because they liked the story. The story was there and it was well written and you don't get much of that these days," he said.
"To hear the applause at the end of a movie was another treat."
As the curtains close on the film society, Horak said the longtime audience is sad to see it end.
"I'm not looking forward to it exactly," Horak said.
"I'm just hoping I'll be able to hold back the tears."