On Friday at The Log, Images Cinema held its centennial anniversary party. Around 180 people were in attendance to enjoy food, a cash bar, a photo booth, a museum of memories and a lively dance floor.
Images Cinema is a special place in many regards: an independent movie theater in a time period dominated by multiplexes, a locally-organized nonprofit and one of the longest running movie theaters. Yet what makes Images truly special is its emphasis on community, and Friday’s party highlighted just that.
All age groups were represented at the party. There were children dressed up in movie-inspired costumes, College students wearing dresses and tuxedos, professors with their families and cinephiles from all over the Berkshires. It was refreshing to take a break from the College party scene and spend a night on the dance floor with such an energetic group of people.
Sandra Thomas, a past executive director of Images, took the lead in organizing the party, with the help of Doug Jones, current executive director, and other members of Images’ staff. The decorations all tied into the movie theater theme. There were popcorn concessions, Images paraphernalia and even a cake shaped and decorated to resemble the building on 50 Spring Street that Images has inhabited all these years.
In The Log’s side room, there was a booth displaying news articles and photographs tracing Images’ history. These archives highlight that, though the movie theater’s name and owners have changed, its goal of being a community-oriented cinema has remain constant. The archives include information about the early decades of the 20th century, when Images would often organize free movie screenings for the Boy Scouts and would throw an annual Christmas party for the children of Williamstown. Now, Images collaborates with the Davis Center to screen social justice documentaries and films, and it works with local schools using film as a medium for learning about different cultures.
This party was part of a yearlong series of special events commemorating the centennial milestone. Some of the events included a screening of Little Miss Sunshine, Images’ most popular film of the 2000s, followed by a Skype Q-and-A with the film’s directors, and there was also an evening conversation with acclaimed filmmakers John Sayles ’72 and Maggie Renzi ’73.
On Nov. 30, 1916, Images, under the name of Walden Theater, screened its first movie, Safety Last. On November 30, 2016, Images will be showing Safety Last once again, now accompanied by live music from silent film accompanist Donal Sosin and singer Joanna Seaton.