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Mystic Cinema screens indie films at coffee shops

Without Tower Theater as venue, local business opts to show movies at coffeehouses
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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Mystic Cinema had no choice but to get creative. The local business venture planned to screen six independent films at Tower Theater in Roseville once a month beginning in November. The group’s leader, Hector Marquez, is an independent filmmaker and has a soft spot for helping non-mainstream movies get screen time. But then the venue’s operator, Civic Theatre West, ceased operations citing debt two days before the group was scheduled to air the first movie in the series. Suddenly, Mystic Cinema was left without a venue. So Marquez canceled the screening of independent film “Harrison Montgomery” and rethought the way he did business. “Our goal for Mystic Cinema was always to create a ‘movie culture’ in the area,” he said. “We wanted a better way to watch movies. Tower Theater was such a great venue that we got comfortable and forgot that our design was never to become too attached to a movie site. Mystic Cinema is about a culture that would go wherever the great movies are playing.” He decided to pick a place where people love to hang out, and coffee shops topped the list, of course. Edwin’s Coffee & Tea in Rocklin agreed to host “Harrison Montgomery” Friday night. “We will continue to build movie culture while mixing up our venues,” Marquez said. Live Media Entertainment, a Roseville-based film and television production company, started Mystic Cinema about 10 months ago to give patrons an opportunity to see movies the way they’re intended to be seen — not on a television set but on the silver screen. The group has since shown “Casablanca,” “Ben-Hur,” “Singin’ in the Rain” and other classics. While the big screen of an old-time, art-deco movie theater may perfectly suit the screening of films from Hollywood’s golden era, the coffeehouse environment might be just right for the low-budget, independent film. The shows will be free but Mystic Cinema asks that patrons buy a cup of coffee or tea to thank the coffee shops for their hospitality. The movie group will also sell full-sized candy boxes for $1 and $2. Independent film connoisseur Renee Berg helped bring “Harrison Montgomery” to Rocklin. Berg, who runs Sky Dog Entertainment, saw the flick with her young daughter at a premiere a few years ago in southern California. “I thought this is a great film,” she said. “I really loved it. My daughter was amazed by the special effects.” She kept in touch with director Daniel Dávila and recently screened the film at Auburn’s Music & More Theater and the Colfax Theater. Then she met Marquez and told him about her love for independent movies, including “Harrison Montgomery.” The 2008 flick stars Oscar-winner Martin Landau and Garden Valley actress Krista Ott. The movie takes place in San Francisco’s poverty-stricken Tenderloin district where an aspiring artist tries to make ends meet as a petty drug dealer. He moves into the dilapidated Hotel Boyd soon crossing paths with 13-year-old Lattie Flemming, played by Ott. He next meets Harrison Montgomery, played by Landau, an elderly man with a secret that could solve the artist's problems — leaving the young man with a tough decision between saving himself or his only friends. Mystic Cinema is now trying to figure out what movie to screen next and what local coffee shop will kindly offer to serve as the makeshift theater venue. Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com. ---------- For more information about future Mystic Cinema film screenings, check http://mysticcinema.com.