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Rivard Report about WOTA

Hankering for your summer movie fix but tired of big budget busts? Texas Public Radio’s 14th-annual Cinema Tuesdays series is where you can catch movies that span an 80-year history of film, including Spielberg’s classic, “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, as well as recent Oscar-nominated short films. Screenings happen every Tuesday evening in July at the Santikos Bijou Cinema Bistro.

The idea for Cinema Tuesdays originated when TPR’s Director of Marketing and Community Engagement and resident cinephile Nathan Cone, along with a former colleague, recognized a lack of classic and independent film screenings in San Antonio.

Texas Public Radio’s Director of Marketing and Community Engagement Nathan Cone. Courtesy photo.

“The first full year we did it was back in 2001, when there was no arthouse theater in San Antonio at the time,” Cone said. “So we thought maybe we could start a film series and fill some of that gap in the summertime by offering some independent movies, some classic, foreign, and Hollywood movies, and some short films on the big screen. It was a big hit.”

Cinema Tuesdays has been running every year since and classic film titles have become the driving attraction. Cone curates the film schedule.

“It’s a natural extension of what I do on the radio,” he said, “because when you’re a DJ or putting together a news segment, you’re eager to share something with an audience, and that’s the same thing we’re doing here with Cinema Tuesdays. I’m really eager to see these movies with the audience and when people come up to me afterwards and talk about it; that’s what really makes it special for me.”

The philosophy behind Cinema Tuesdays is to “show great films, give people a good experience and a great reason to come together while supporting TPR at the same time,” Cone said.

“What continues to draw me to Cinema Tuesdays is the opportunity to see films I always wanted to see on the big screen and learn more about the films from Nathan Cone,” stated local librarian Julia Selwyn in an email. “Although I am a Stanley Kubrick fan, I never knew that Barry Lyndon was filmed mostly by candlelight and that a special camera was developed.  Whether the film is full of light or tragedy – or sometimes both – it’s always a pleasure to share films on Cinema Tuesdays.”

Cinema Tuesdays was first hosted at AMC Huebner Oaks in one of the smaller theaters. As the event became more popular, it moved to a larger, 400-seat theater, and eventually moved to the Santikos Bijou, which Arlene Gauthier, a long-time volunteer and long-time friend of Cone’s, believes is a much better fit.

“The Bijou lets us do things like give cakes out to guests during the recent screening of ‘Wizard of Oz,’ ” Gauthier said.

Before the Alamo Drafthouse, the Bijou was one of the first theaters in San Antonio to screen independent films while also offering patrons food and drink options.


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