When the first of three Lord of the Rings movies gets going at 11 a.m. Saturday Nov. 17 at the JACC, it’s quite likely going to be the only public presentation of the films taking place anywhere in the country. The film company, Warner Brothers, called a temporary halt to all public showings of the trilogy last month, prior to the release of “The Hobbit,” -- a decision that nearly wrecked the carefully laid plans of local organizers who’d planned on showing all three films back-to-back as a way to raise funds for the Alaska Youth Choir.
Event organizer Tony Newman said when he got the word about the moratorium on the movies he was crestfallen -- the JACC had already been rented and donors had already been secured for advertising, prizes, and other services. But with so much time and energy -- and a bit of money -- invested in the project, Newman wasn’t about to give up without a fight. He appealed to the distribution company, Swank Motion Pictures, who told him to try writing a letter to Warner Brothers.
“She said, ‘You could write a letter of appeal to Warner Brothers and we’ll pass it on to them, but frankly we’ve never seen that approved,’” Newman recalled. “How do you write to a giant movie studio and expect to hear an answer back?”
But, against all odds, he got a response. Against greater odds, the response was positive.
So the show goes on. Beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday, Juneauites can revel in the fact that they get a special public viewing of the films, and also gear up for the premier of “The Hobbit.”
Parents should use their own judgment when deciding if the films are suitable for their children; all three contain some disturbing and frightening imagery.
The movie marathon will include showings of all three extended-length versions of The Lord of the Rings films, directed by Peter Jackson. The party also will feature a trivia contest, costume contest, and door prizes.
Seating for the event will be “picnic style,” with attendees encouraged to bring blankets, pillows, lawn chairs—whatever they need to settle in for a day and evening of fun and adventure.
The idea for the event came from friends who said they’d love to get together to immerse themselves in the movies over a single weekend.
“I thought, let’s make it a community event and support a local nonprofit at the same time,” Newman said. “Plus, with ‘The Hobbit’ coming out in just a few weeks, the timing is perfect to get reacquainted with J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy world.”
Cost for the event is $6 per movie, or $15 for all three films. Tickets can be purchased online through the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council website, at the JACC, at Hearthside Books, or at the door. Proceeds will support the Alaska Youth Choir, a local nonprofit organization that offers choral music instruction and performance opportunities for youth ages 6 – 18.
The first film in the trilogy, “The Fellowship of the Ring,” will begin at 11 a.m. after an opening song by the Alaska Youth Choir; “The Two Towers” will begin at 3:30 p.m., and “The Return of the King” will begin at 8:30 p.m. A Lord of the Rings Trivia contest will begin at 3:15 p.m. and the Costume Contest will begin at 8 pm.
“It’s an immersion experience,” Newman said.
Breaks are scheduled between the films to allow moviegoers to stretch their legs and get a meal. Snacks and drinks also will be for sale to benefit the Alaska Youth Choir.
Questions about the movie marathon can be directed to Tony Newman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 321-3989.
Questions about the Alaska Youth Choir can be directed to Heather Miller at email@example.com or 790-3310.