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Modesto Film Society gearing up for new season

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POSTED June 16, 2012 3:08 a.m.

MODESTO - The Modesto Film Society’s 2012-13 season kicks off in July so the time to become a member, or renew your membership, is now. This is the club to join if you want to fully indulge your passion for film by seeing some of the most significant titles from the past and present on the Big Screen in the company of hundreds of other like-minded film fans.

As an MFS member, you become part of a larger family of ardent film-goers, all of whom gather nine months out of the year to see 18 of the best films in classic and contemporary cinema. Not only do you enjoy deeply discounted or free admissions, depending on the level at which you join, you receive invitations to special film events and member-only receptions, and you receive advance notice on first-run film fare. There are also opportunities to dress up as your favorite character from classic films, win prizes and join in the fun, and to participate in discussions following contemporary films led by film industry insiders.

By joining MFS before July 10, your place will be assured at every screening starting with the first film of the season, the digitally restored, visually stunning Yellow Submarine.

• TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD: Free admission for 2011/12 season, new and renewing members, Sunday, June 17, at 2 p.m., doors at 1 p.m. (PG) 2 Hrs. 9 Min. (Blu-ray – in black and white)

 To Kill A Mockingbird, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece by Harper Lee, is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and the Modesto Film Society is bringing it to The State this Sunday for a special screening. Modesto Film Society members from the 2011/2012 season are invited to attend at no charge. Sunday’s screening features the newly released, digitally remastered version of Mockingbird, and a rare opportunity to see the film on the big screen. In 1962, the Oscar-winning film garnered a Best Actor prize for Gregory Peck, who starred as Atticus Finch, a lawyer defending a black man against an undeserved charge of rape by a white woman in the Depression-era South. Nine-year-old newcomer Mary Badham, who played Scout Finch, Atticus’ plucky daughter, was nominated for Best Supporting Actress. It is Scout who narrates the film, in this despairing characterization of racism in America, and one of the finest book-to-screen adaptations ever made.

Admission to this special presentation is free to Modesto Film Society and Cinema Club members, and only $5 to the general public.

• MUSIC FROM THE BIG HOUSE: Special screening featuring a live performance by Rita Chiarelli, Monday, June 18, at 7 p.m., Documentary-unrated) 1 Hr. 30 Min. (Blu-ray) In English

In Music From The Big House, Rita Chiarelli, Canada’s Goddess of the Blues, takes a pilgrimage to the birthplace of the Blues: Louisiana State Maximum Security Penitentiary, aka Angola Prison -- formerly the bloodiest prison in America. Rita’s trip turns into an unprecedented historic jailhouse performance, playing with - rather than for - musician inmates serving life sentences. Rather than sensational stories of convicts, we witness remarkable voices of hope as their love of music radiates humanity and redemption on their quest for forgiveness. Chiarelli, a gifted songwriter and performer, with a soaring, three-octave voice  will be at The State to perform, and to discuss the film and recording its soundtrack. She developed the original concept for the film, in which she organizes an historic, unprecedented jailhouse performance  that came to fruition thanks to her perseverance, passion for the project, and her belief in the redemptive power of music. Admission: $10

• THE BEATLES YELLOW SUBMARINE: Opening night of the season. Tuesday, July 10, Reception at 6 p.m. film at 7 p.m. (G) 1 Hr. 29 Min. (Blu-ray) In English

Enjoy appetizers and live music courtesy of the Third Party Band, made up of well-known Modestans Chris Murphy, Gary Nelson, Chad Johnson and Brett Hughes from 6 to 7 p.m.

The Beatles’ revolutionary, 1968 animated classic Yellow Submarine has been digitally restored so we have selected it for the opening night film of the new MFS season to give Beatles fans of all ages the opportunity to come together and share in this visually stunning movie and soundtrack. Based on a song by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Yellow Submarine is a fantastic tale brimming with peace, love and hope, propelled by Beatles songs, including “Eleanor Rigby,” “When I’m Sixty-Four,” “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” “All You Need Is Love,” and “It’s All Too Much.” When the film debuted in 1968, it was instantly recognized as a landmark achievement, inspired by the generation’s new trends in art including the dazzling Pop Art styles of Andy Warhol, Martin Sharp, Alan Aldridge and Peter Blake. With art direction and production design by Heinz Edelmann, the entire process took two years, 14 different scripts, 40 animators and 140 technical artists, ultimately producing a groundbreaking triumph of animation. A discussion will follow the film.

Admission is $10 for non members for evening screenings and $8 for matinees.

 • GOLDFINGER: Sunday, July 15 at 3 p.m., (PG) 1 Hr. 51 Min. In English

The first Classic film of the new MFS season is Goldfinger, starring an extraordinarily suave Sean Connery (aka “007”) and Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore. Goldfinger (Gert Frobe) plans to rob Fort Knox and become the world’s richest man, while ruining the world’s economy. Bond must stop Goldfinger’s mission and does so amid brief nudity, and constant inuendo in one of the most risque Bond films to date. Connery is still considered the most iconic of the Bond movie stars, even after nearly 50 years have passed since the film’s release in 1964.

For online ticket sales go to To purchase your tickets by phone call The State Box Office at 209-527-4697 from noon to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. If still available, tickets may also be purchased the night of the event up to the start of the presentation.

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