Since 2004, the Toledo Lucas County Public Library’s Film Focus series has been opening viewers’ eyes and minds to movies not found at the local multiplex.
“Film Focus started as a way of showcasing quality and interesting, non-mainstream film in a community setting at the library,” said Tracy Montri, audiovisual department manager. “It was very much meant to be an alternative to mainstream cinema, to broaden all of our experiences to what is out there in terms of motion pictures.”
Free life lessons
Most of this year’s films, shown free of charge on Monday evenings through May 1 at the Main Library downtown, are documentaries. This year’s upcoming selections tackle subjects as varied as the Holocaust’s continuing effects on two women; a profile of a funny, charming brain scientist, a look at the influence of the Toledo Fair Housing Center and the film Neither Heaven Nor Earth is a supernatural war movie set in Afghanistan.
Upcoming movies in the Film Focus program are: April 10, Inheritance; April 17, My Love Affair With The Brain: The Life and Science of Dr. Marian Diamond; April 24, Fair Housing: A Place to Call Home; and May 1, Neither Heaven Nor Earth. Full descriptions of the selections can be found at toledolibrary.org/film-focus.
While the film series is not political, these high quality films will likely prompt introspection. “Cinema can be a really great tool to make me a better person,” Montri said. “Whatever people take from the films is their own personal interpretation and that’s wonderful. It’s a tool for all of us to develop ourselves.”
Montri said documentary films have become increasingly more popular and this year’s selections reflect those tastes. “Documentaries have very much gone mainstream and the public craves that experience,” she said. “For filmmakers, it’s a mode of expression that in the last 10 years or so has become more recognized and fostered.”
The public library setting is part of the program’s appeal, Montri said. “It is an egalitarian setting to explore ideas. There’s something special about being in a darkened room, where you’re focusing on that big screen and immersing yourself in that experience.”
“The content within Film Focus is chosen for the way that we anticipate it will speak to our community,” Montri said, “through the content, the storyline or symbolism, or showcasing something people may not know much about. That’s always been the bottom line.”
The films are shown at 7 p.m. Mondays in the McMaster Center of the Main Library,
325 N. Michigan Ave. On-site parking is
free for movie attendees.