Film Series by Local Artists Promotes the Retro

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Eric Hatch, Jimmy Joe Roche and Dan Deacon of Gunky’s Basement. Photo by Frank Hamilton.

Courtesy Bmore Media – What happens when Jimmy Joe Roche and Dan Deacon, two of Baltimore’s most prominent artists, curate a film series that takes moviegoers back in time?

The resulting brainchild is the film series Gunky’s Basement, now in its third year. An outgrowth of the annual Maryland Film Festival, Gunky’s Basement highlights a single film from the 80s and 90s each month from fall to spring. And the movies aren’t the only throwback in film history: Each movie is shown in its original, 35-millimeter format in an age when theaters now universally rely on digital projection.

The $5 screenings take place on a full-sized cinema screen at the Charles Theater — not a basement — and draw between 250 to 300 movie buffs. Some movies are well known classics like “Silence of the Lambs” or “Alien.” Other selections, such as Jim Jarmusch’s “Dead Man” starring Johnny Depp, are more esoteric.
Gunky’s grew out of the Maryland Film Festival’s tradition of inviting people who don’t work in film to select and host screenings of movies that it holds year-round. Lauded electronica musician Deacon collaborated with longtime friend and visual artist Roche and the film festival to produce the series. Continuing it will remain a challenge as 35-millimeter prints become harder and more expensive to secure. But for now, the series is helping the festival draw newer and younger audiences, saysMaryland Film Festival Director of Programming Eric Hatch.

Courtesy Bmore Media

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