August 25th promised to be an exciting evening for local film-lovers.
Film Streams hosted the Feature VIII event at the Holland Performing Arts Center, attracting their largest crowd yet. While garnering an impressive turnout and even more impressive amount of money raised for the local organization, this event is as simple as it sounds – a conversation between two artists. One, hometown-hero and Academy Award winning director, Alexander Payne, and another, a decorated actor and producer, Paul Giamatti.
The night began with Films Streams Executive Director Rachel Jacobson welcoming everyone and sharing what Film Streams had been up to since the last Feature event. Since 2017, Film Streams reopened the beautiful Ruth Sokolof theatre in Dundee, breaking in their new home by hosting the premiere of Payne’s film, Downsizing. While Kitchen Table, an eclectic and wholesome restaurant, filled the main food area of the theater for the past 2 years, they are excited to welcome Lola’s Cafe in the coming months, which serves wine, house-made bread and pastries – perfect for a before/after movie snack.
The moderator of the evening, Payne, had a lot to say about his pal and guest of the night. He prefaced that Giamatti really is everything you hope he would be and more. He is so brilliantly talented “that you wouldn’t mind listening to him read from a phone book,” which at the end of the night, he really did and it was gold. Payne also said that if you took every single person on the planet’s face and mashed it together, he thinks it would look something like Giamatti, which was followed by chuckles from the audience (and I am sure some laughs from Giamatti backstage.)
Giamatti’s presence was relaxed and down-to-earth. The John Adams, Billions, Sideways, 12 Years a Slave actor is truly bashful of his incredible accolades and was genuinely happy to be there. Giamatti is extremely well-read and is a man of few words but when you put him in front of a camera, you can’t help but listen.
Payne and Giamatti’s conversation was a roundabout of compliments and stories on sets, sprinkled with clips of some of Giamatti’s best performances and wrapped up with questions from the audience. Overall, the night was a huge success for Film Streams and a night of pure entertainment for the audience. Which one of Alexander Payne’s friends will get the invitation to Feature IX? I guess we will have to wait and see.
In the meantime, be sure to check out what’s going on at both Film Streams locations, downtown and at the renovated Ruth Sokolof theater in Dundee. Go for a movie, stay for the atmosphere. Don’t forget to grab a sweet treat while you’re there. I promise you won’t regret it.
Check out previous Film Streams events & films I’ve attended:
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