By Anna Jauhola
Hallock has been without an indoor movie theater since 1975 when the Grand Theatre burned to the ground.
With the construction of the 400+ seat auditorium at Kittson Central School, Superintendent Bob Jaszczak hopes to bring that amenity back.
Earlier this year, the district purchased an annual license to allow the school to show legally obtained movies, including major productions from companies like Disney and Marvel.
“Even if someone has a Netflix account, we can use that,” Jaszczak said.
There is one catch – this is not a for-profit movie theater, which leaves it under the jurisdiction of District policy. All movies shown in the auditorium to a general audience will have a rating of PG-13 or below.
“This will be a fun thing for the community,” Jaszczak said. “We want to keep it economical for families, hence the $1 for kids and $2 for adults. And we only have that to cover the cost of the licensing.”
Also, outside entities can show films at the auditorium under the District’s license.
The first movie shown in this capacity was “On The Waterfront,” starring Marlon Brando. The classic film was shown Monday evening by the high school Film Studies class and was open to the public.
Film Studies teacher Tina Turn said she has shown this film in class every year she’s taught it, and the idea to show it to the public has always been there.
“I’ve been thinking about this for years,” she said. “But we’ve never had the space to do it that would attract people from outside the school.”
With the auditorium, she jumped on the opportunity to set up a date to show the film for public viewing. Turn hopes to show a few more classic films throughout the year, depending on the availability of the auditorium and interest.
The second movie to be shown will be a Disney classic known as one of the most successful and beloved, “The Lion King.” At 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 28, people of all ages can enjoy the fun and nostalgia of this movie.
“It’s tough to offend anyone with a Disney movie,” Jaszczak said. “This was made in 1994, so we figured parents of young children who watched it when they were kids would like to share this experience with their kids.”
Although showing movies at the auditorium will fill an entertainment gap in the community, the public must remember this is not a movie theater. Per District policy, there will be no food or drink allowed in the auditorium during the movies.
Jaszczak said perhaps in the future, they may offer a dessert bar or other treats in the adjoining cafeteria after the movies.
“I’m hoping people are going to be respectful,” he said.
Jaszczak is hoping for a decent turnout and is excited about the possibilities. With 406 available seats in the auditorium, this addition to the community can provide a great opportunity for evening outings. Jaszczak emphasized the first priority for the auditorium is educational purposes, and reiterated the minimal charge to see movies is only to pay for the license to allows the District to show movies.
“The possibilities are very expansive,” he said. “There’s a lot of stuff we can do in the auditorium.”
By Anna Jauhola