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Empire offers Grand Forks moviegoers opportunity to view iconic films on big screen, 'as they were intended'

A series of the director's most celebrated films will be screened Sunday afternoons in January

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At the screening of each Hitchcock film, UND psychology professors, Drs. John-Paul Legerski and Joe Miller, will provide an overview of each film and lead a post-show discussion.
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The Empire Arts Center is hosting a film series, featuring several of Alfred Hitchcock’s most celebrated films. The series starts at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 2, with “Notorious,” and continues at that time every Sunday afternoon this month.

“Hitchcock fans will enjoy five iconic films on the ‘big screen,’ as they were intended,” said Kathleen Coudle-King, managing artistic director for the Empire Arts Center.

After “Notorious,” the other films are: “Rear Window” on Jan. 9; “Psycho” on Jan. 16; “The Birds” on Jan. 23; and “The 39 Steps” on Jan. 30.

Moviegoers will not only see the Hitchcock films as they were meant to be seen, but will also have the opportunity to delve into the films and the director from a psychological perspective, Coudle-King said.

UND psychology professors John-Paul Legerski and Joe Miller will serve as facilitators, giving an overview of each film and leading a post-show discussion at the Empire.

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“We are really excited about being part of the Hitchcock film series at the Empire Arts Center," said Legerski, UND associate professor of psychology and director of the Northern Prairie Community Clinic.

“For many moviegoers, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see these classics on the big screen, as they were meant to be seen,” Legerski said. “Among the 50 features he directed, we selected five films we felt had the most widespread appeal, for the hardcore cinephiles to the uninitiated and everyone in between. And there will be something for everyone: romance, comedy, espionage, suspense and murder.”

“Alfred Hitchcock is one of the most influential figures of the 20th century. He had an uncanny ability to tap into the emotions of moviegoers,” he said.

That’s the reason he and Miller, as fellow psychologists, have been drawn to his films, Legerski said. “While influential, Hitchcock was also a complicated figure and, in this (film) series, we will explore how his early life, personality, and world-view shaped his films.”

A series pass for all five shows can be purchased online for $25 at www.empireartscenter.com . Individual film tickets, at $8 each, can be purchased at the Empire’s box office, which will open at 1 p.m. on the day of the show. The management requests that guests wear masks.

Patrons who purchase a ticket in advance to The Empire Theatre Company’s production of “The 39 Steps,” a parody of the Hitchcock film which runs Feb. 10-26, will receive free admission to the Jan. 30 film screening.

Empire Arts Center
The historic Empire Arts Center, located at 415 DeMers Ave., will show the Hitchcock films with an advanced-technology projector and associated controls system installed in 2016 at a cost of $25,000.

The Hitchcock films will be shown on an advanced-technology projector and associated controls system that was installed in 2016 at a cost of $25,000, according to Debra Pflughoeft-Hassett, the Empire’s executive director.

Since then, the arts center has presented multiple films, including Rocky Horror Picture Show annually, except for 2020; a two-day film festival sponsored by Happy Harry’s Bottle Shop about three years ago; and the Flashback Film Series held in early 2020, which was cut short due to venue restrictions, Pflughoeft-Hassett said.

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The Empire is hosting several themed film series during its 2021-22 season, she said. The first was the Quirk Horror Film series, which ended Dec. 19. A series of Humphrey Bogart films is planned for March and, later this spring, a series of films by local and regional filmmakers will be presented.

“We will also have a summer camp-themed series this coming summer, Pflughoeft-Hassett said. “We are grateful to the Midcontinent Foundation for providing funding for these various film series.

“Midcontinent showed the last films at the Empire before they gifted it to NoVAC (North Valley Arts Council) to be used as an arts center,” she said. “It’s so great that they continue to support the Empire.”

The Hitchcock film series is co-produced with the Midco Foundation and the North Dakota Council on the Arts, with funding from the North Dakota State Legislature and the Greater Grand Forks Visitors Bureau.

The Empire Arts Center is located at 415 DeMers Ave.

For more information, contact the Empire at info@empireartscenter.com or call (701) 746-5500.

Related Topics: THEATEREMPIRE ARTS CENTER
Pamela Knudson is a features and arts/entertainment writer for the Grand Forks Herald.

She has worked for the Herald since 2011 and has covered a wide variety of topics, including the latest performances in the region and health topics.

Pamela can be reached at pknudson@gfherald.com or (701) 780-1107.
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