The Movie Man screens March 30 at Gorge Cinema

Film about Keith Slata and his cinema in Kinmount similar to Gorge Cinema story during pandemic

ELORA – The movie description could be describing Gorge Cinema owner Payton Curtis.

“Amid a global pandemic, an entrepreneur looks back on his life’s work owning and operating an idiosyncratic cinema in the forest of northern Ontario,” reads the blurb about the film The Movie Man, which will screen at the Gorge Cinema  on March 30.

But in fact the film The Movie Man is about Keith Slata and his “baby,” Highlands Cinemas in Kinmount, Ontario.

After 40 years in business, Slata is forced to confront his current limitations, dwindling health and a global pandemic. The future of his quixotic cinema becomes more and more uncertain as the film unfolds.

Stata opened Highlands Cinemas during the summer of 1979. 

What began as a single screen transformed into a five-screen multiplex showing first-run films over the course of its 40-year history. 

Changes in technology, dwindling ticket sales, a popcorn-eating bear, and his 50 cats all contribute to the chaos.

And COVID-19 and a new way of binge-watching movies and series at home had Stata wondering if his challenges are insurmountable.

“This documentary encapsulates the magic of cinema, exploring not only the profound impact it can have on individuals but also the unique and unconventional spaces where this magic unfolds,” said director Matt Finlin.

“Following Keith Stata throughout his day with no interference, I sought to capture the essence of his dedication and love for providing generations of moviegoers with unforgettable experiences.“

Through The Movie Man, audiences will not only discover the hidden gems of the cinematic world but also gain insight into the dedication and artistry behind these cherished spaces, officials say. 

The film premiered at The Santa Barbara International Film Festival and the Canadian premiere was at the Kingston Canadian Film Festival. 

It’s coming to the Elora Gorge Cinema on March 30 for a 2pm screening. And director Matt Finlin will be attendance to introduce the film and answer questions.

“We haven’t had a director in house since, The Woman who Loves Giraffes back in 2018, so it’s very exciting to bring this film to town,” said Curtis.