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by Dave Stewart

The old City Cinema boothThere are places and people that we sometimes take for granted in PEI. These mainstays create a backdrop to our day-to-day, enhance our quality of life here, and gently influence us whether we interact regularly with them or not.

Without a doubt, City Cinema falls into this category, providing Islanders with the opportunity to see culturally significant movies onscreen while also hosting live performances, community events, and other edifying activities.

City Cinema is the only full-time repertory cinema in the Maritimes. Give yourself a second to take that piece of information in fully.

Even Halifax, the region’s largest city, doesn’t have one. A few years after the passing of its co-founder, Gordon Parsons, HRM’s great Wormwood’s Dog & Monkey Cinema closed its doors, a testament to the need for ongoing energy, enthusiasm and knowhow behind the projector. Luckily for us here in PEI, that task fell to Derek Martin.

Since the first screening in 1993, Derek has worked to bring the theatre to its current status as an essential part of PEI’s arts and culture community. On a more basic level, City Cinema is the only venue in which to catch a flick in Charlottetown’s downtown core, something that was common before the advent of malls and multiplexes located on city outskirts.

As a regular myself, I can’t imagine PEI without City Cinema. It’s been my venue to take in David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive, Terry Zwigoff’s Ghost World, Brad Anderson’s Session 9, Lars von Trier’s Breaking the Waves, Tim Burton’s Ed Wood, Robert Altman’s Short Cuts, Thom Fitzgerald’s The Hanging Garden, Thomas Vinterberg’s The Celebration, Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation, and countless others. I even celebrated my birthday there one year by hosting an unforgettable special screening of Russ Meyer’s Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!.

On behalf of myself, The Buzz, and movie lovers across the province—Thanks, Derek. You and City Cinema have improved our lives at 24 frames per second for two decades now. We’re all looking forward to the sequel.

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