WEST CHESTER, PA — Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center is once again lighting up its big screen for the Spring. First, the Chester County performing arts venue is one of the local spots for the regional premiere of the Magnolia Films and Sundance Film Festival selection, Little Richard: I Am Everything, this rockin’ documentary will screen Tuesday April 11, 7:00PM.
Additionally, Uptown’s $5 Movie Mondays return with the classic Judy Garland and Fred Astaire musical, Easter Parade, on Monday April 17 at 7:00PM and the fantastical Disney classic, Fantasia, set to an epic classical music score, on Monday, May 22 at 7:00PM. All $5 Movie Mondays include free popcorn. Uptown! will also host some of the events of the The 17th Annual West Chester International Short Film Festival April 28 – 30. Ticket prices vary for each performance.
Every film is at Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center at 226 N. High Street and Mac’s Foxhole Lounge and Bar are open for every event. For more about this show, other concerts and upcoming events, visit uptownwestchester.org or call (610) 356-2787.
Little Richard: I Am Everything (film)
Tuesday, April 11, 7:00 PM
Magnolia Pictures is releasing Little Richard: I Am Everything for special one-night-only theatrical screenings on April 11, followed by additional theaters and a digital release on April 21.
Produced by Bungalow Media + Entertainment for CNN Films and HBO Max, in association with Rolling Stone Films, director Lisa Cortés’ Sundance opening night documentary LITTLE RICHARD: I AM EVERYTHING tells the story of the Black queer origins of rock n’ roll, exploding the whitewashed canon of American pop music to reveal the innovator – the originator – Richard Penniman. Through a wealth of archive and performance that brings us into Richard’s complicated inner world, the film unspools the icon’s life story with all its switchbacks and contradictions. In interviews with family, musicians, and cutting-edge Black and queer scholars, the film reveals how Richard created an art form for ultimate self-expression, yet what he gave to the world he was never able to give to himself. Throughout his life, Richard careened like a shiny cracked pinball between God, sex and rock n’ roll. The world tried to put him in a box, but Richard was an omni being who contained multitudes – he was unabashedly everything. Directed by Lisa Cortés,Little Richard: I Am Everything is produced by Robert Friedman, Cortés, Liz Yale Marsh and Caryn Capotosto and Executive Produced by Dee Rees.
$5 Movie Monday
Monday, April 17, 7:00 PM
Tickets: $5 including free popcorn
Just in time for spring, Easter Parade! From the 1940’s studios of hit-maker MGM, and starring Fred Astaire (who stepped in after Gene Kelly broke his ankle) and Judy Garland, this classic big musical also features Peter Lawford and Ann Miller in her MGM debut. With a score by Irving Berlin, this film became a box office hit and re-established Astaire as an audience favorite.
In this romantic comedy, a nightclub performer hires a naive chorus girl to become his new dance partner to make his former partner jealous and to prove he can make any partner a star. He doesn’t realize that his new dance partner has “left-right confusion.” Romance, happy endings, and 16 full-scale dance numbers all add up to a perfect family film for April.
Monday, May 22, 7:00 PM
Tickets: $5, including popcorn
If you’ve never seen Walt Disney’s Fantasia on a big screen, now is the time. The backstory is that the animated character Mickey Mouse was declining in popularity and Disney was seeking to revive its image. Disney was working on a short film, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, and as production costs rose, he decided to create a feature length film. Fantasia is a collection of animated interpretations of great works of Western classical music, ranging from the abstract to depictions of mythology and fantasy, and settings including the prehistoric, supernatural and sacred. Presented as a concert, Bach, Beethoven, Stravinsky, Stokowski, Dukas, Ponchielli and other brilliant composers are matched to each gorgeous sequence – and there is even a jazz “intermission.”
Fantasia was finally released in 1940 in a specially fitted theatre, so that Disney’s new technology, Fantasound, could be used. This was the first ever film immersion experience with Disney controlling the setup of theater marquees, curtain and lighting cues, and training ushers to escort patrons to their seats with a program.
Fantasia went on to become a legend in film history and is considered by some to be a masterpiece.
West Chester Film Festival
The 17th Annual West Chester Film Festival will be held from Friday, April 28 – Sunday, April 30, 2023. The festival presents short films that are 30 minutes or less from around the world. During the weekend they will show over 50 films from 2-minute comedies to 30-minute dramas and everything in between.
The festival launches on Friday, April 28, 2023, with an Opening Night Party and the main venue is Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center. Pop-Up Films Blocks will be shown at locations around the borough of West Chester. There are informative and free filmmaker workshops and a Filmmaker Meet & Greet on Saturday afternoon of the Festival weekend. The Festival ends on Sunday with more screenings and a not-to-be-missed Closing Night Party where Uptown! will award the top films in each genre.
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