By Gene Axton - [email protected]

Wilkes-Barre’s F.M. Kirby Center hosts W. Curtis Montz 2016 Film Series

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‘Carol’ will kick off the 2016 W. Curtis Montz Film Series Wednesday, June 22 with showings at 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The film was nominated for six Oscars.
Submitted photo
W. Curtis Montz (1911-2013) worked at Wilkes-Barre’s F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts until he was 99. The W. Curtis Montz Film Series was founded in 2006 in honor of the former Kirby Center interim executive director.
Submitted photo
‘He Named Me Malala’ is a 2015 documentary about Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, a young Pakistani female rights activist.
Submitted photo
‘Racing Extinction’ shines a spotlight on the phenomena of mass extinction. The documentary will screen at Wilkes-Barre’s F.M. Kirby Center as part of the W. Curtis Montz 2016 Film Series.
Submitted photo
Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien won best director at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival for his 2015 Martial Arts film ‘The Assassin.’
Submitted photo

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    WILKES-BARRE — This summer the F.M. Kirby Center will offer an alternative to big-budget blockbusters during the center’s film series which began in 1986.

    The Kirby Center’s 2016 W. Curtis Montz Film Series is scheduled to include 11 films and documentaries chosen in spirit of the late Kirby Center employee, who programmed a number of independent films, documentaries and Oscar darlings for the venue until his health forced him into retirement in 2011. The film series, which was named after Montz in 2006, is returning to its traditional format after a year without Wednesday summer showings.

    “This is definitely a revival of what we think Curtis believed in and wanted to show at the Kirby Center and that meant a lot to us,” Kirby Center Director of Sales and Marketing Anne Rodella said. “Last year would’ve been our first full departure. We didn’t show any films of this type. I think it was missed; we missed it.”

    This year’s schedule was put together by Kirby Center Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator Lauren Menn, whose personal choices hit many of the notes Montz was known for. Documentaries like “He Named Me Malala” and “Racing Extinction” explore real subjects in the world, while dramatic efforts like “Carol” and “Anomalisa” act as a microcosm of the modern human experience.

    Some of the series’ films, like “The Assassin” and “The Lobster,” are pure art house productions; Menn is particularly excited she was able to secure the latter, a black comedy starring Colin Farrell that parodies the stereotypes of the single life with metaphors.

    “I thought that was going to be my long shot, I thought there was no way they were going to say yes to this,” Menn said. “I hounded them, essentially begging because I wanted it so badly. That was the one I was most passionate about.”

    Curtis’ son, Hank Montz, thinks his father would be happy with the films chosen for the series that bares his name.

    “The selections seem to be similar to the kind of taste he had,” Hank said. “He was always a film buff and he wanted to choose films he thought an audience would enjoy, but that you weren’t going to find in your mainstream theater.”

    Wilkes-Barre resident Kathy O’Neill was part of the audience for which Curtis chose films. She attended Kirby Center screenings for the better part of two decades and said the late film buff chose his selections wisely — the vast majority of them, anyway.

    “That’s what makes the series so wonderful, his choices were great, they were always surprises,” O’Neill said. “We went just about every Wednesday night we could and there was only one movie I remember I didn’t like. I don’t remember the name of it, but it was about a woman wandering through the desert. It was just scenes of desert after desert and she was wandering through the desert.”

    There are no deserts in the first film of the 2016 W. Curtis Montz Film Series, “Carol,” which screens Wednesday, June 22 at 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. F.M. Kirby Center will screen a new movie most Wednesdays through Sept. 14 (other tenants take over the Kirby on July 13 and Sept. 7). For more information, call 570-826-1100 or visit KirbyCenter.org.

    THE 2016 W. CURTIS MONTZ FILM SERIES

    Wednesdays at 1 p.m., $3; 7:30 p.m., $5.

    ‘Carol’ (R) June 22

    ‘Mediterranea’ (NR) June 29

    ‘45 Years’ (R) July 6

    ‘The Assassin’ (NR) July 20

    ‘Racing Extinction’ (NR) July 27

    ‘The Lobster’ (R) Aug. 3

    ‘He Named Me Malala’ (PG-13) Aug. 10

    ‘Son of Saul’ (R) Aug. 17

    ‘The Stanford Prison Experiment’ (R) Aug. 24

    ‘Guantanamo’s Child’ (NR) Aug. 31

    ‘Anomalisa’ (R) Sept. 14

    Reach Gene Axton at 570-991-6121 or on Twitter @TLArts

    Films screened in W. Curtis Montz’s honor include documentaries, art house films and Oscar contenders

    By Gene Axton

    [email protected]

    ‘Carol’ will kick off the 2016 W. Curtis Montz Film Series Wednesday, June 22 with showings at 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The film was nominated for six Oscars.
    http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_Carol.jpg‘Carol’ will kick off the 2016 W. Curtis Montz Film Series Wednesday, June 22 with showings at 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The film was nominated for six Oscars. Submitted photo

    W. Curtis Montz (1911-2013) worked at Wilkes-Barre’s F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts until he was 99. The W. Curtis Montz Film Series was founded in 2006 in honor of the former Kirby Center interim executive director.
    http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_Cute-Curtis.jpgW. Curtis Montz (1911-2013) worked at Wilkes-Barre’s F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts until he was 99. The W. Curtis Montz Film Series was founded in 2006 in honor of the former Kirby Center interim executive director. Submitted photo

    ‘He Named Me Malala’ is a 2015 documentary about Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, a young Pakistani female rights activist.
    http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_He-Named-Me.jpg‘He Named Me Malala’ is a 2015 documentary about Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, a young Pakistani female rights activist. Submitted photo

    ‘Racing Extinction’ shines a spotlight on the phenomena of mass extinction. The documentary will screen at Wilkes-Barre’s F.M. Kirby Center as part of the W. Curtis Montz 2016 Film Series.
    http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_Racing-Ext.jpg‘Racing Extinction’ shines a spotlight on the phenomena of mass extinction. The documentary will screen at Wilkes-Barre’s F.M. Kirby Center as part of the W. Curtis Montz 2016 Film Series. Submitted photo

    Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien won best director at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival for his 2015 Martial Arts film ‘The Assassin.’
    http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_The-Assassin.jpgTaiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien won best director at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival for his 2015 Martial Arts film ‘The Assassin.’ Submitted photo

    Reach Gene Axton at 570-991-6121 or on Twitter @TLArts

    THE 2016 W. CURTIS MONTZ FILM SERIES

    Wednesdays at 1 p.m., $3; 7:30 p.m., $5.

    ‘Carol’ (R) June 22

    ‘Mediterranea’ (NR) June 29

    ‘45 Years’ (R) July 6

    ‘The Assassin’ (NR) July 20

    ‘Racing Extinction’ (NR) July 27

    ‘The Lobster’ (R) Aug. 3

    ‘He Named Me Malala’ (PG-13) Aug. 10

    ‘Son of Saul’ (R) Aug. 17

    ‘The Stanford Prison Experiment’ (R) Aug. 24

    ‘Guantanamo’s Child’ (NR) Aug. 31

    ‘Anomalisa’ (R) Sept. 14