BILLINGS- The movie industry honors its best at the 91st Academy Awards.
The Babcock Theater, in Billings, started showing films about the time the Oscars started.
“For over a hundred years now, film has been a central part of our culture, particularly here in America,” said Matt Blakeslee, executive director of the Art House Cinema and the Babcock Theater.
Blakeslee runs the Babcock, which started showing movies again in November.
“We love stories,” Blakeslee said about the popularity of movies. “It’s always been a part of our humanity and so film is one of the best ways to share stories that we all can connect with. A roomful of strangers come and laugh, be scared, have joy and experience those things. There’s something magical about coming to the cinema together and that really is going nowhere.”
And he says it may be even more magical at the Babcock.
“People love the nostalgia of the Babcock Theater,” he said. “And so many people are coming to films here, bringing their kids here for that nostalgia piece. Maybe they don’t even care as much about the movie, but it’s just the experience of going to a movie at the Babcock that they love so much.”
The experience at the Art House Cinema and Pub is similar with the big screen, but with a different type of film.
“When we started Art House, we started it because there were so many Oscar nominated films that we never saw here in Billings,” Blakeslee said. “Art House is smaller budget films, (independent) films, foreign films, and documentaries. “
Blakeslee said films are made for the big screen…with big sound.
“There’s something truly special about that cinema experience,” he said. “And so I think more and more people are experiencing that and wanting to be a part of that for sure.
Whatever the new technology, movie fans have always enjoyed the theater.
“No matter what technology you have at home or in your pocket, you cannot replace the experience of cinema which is mainly more of the community aspect, a roomful of strangers,” Blakeslee said.
“We’re in here at the Babcock for the long haul. We’re at Art House for the long haul because we believe this is going to continue be a staple of what film, art and culture brings to a community.“
Blakeslee said watching the Academy Awards can be also more special at a theater and the Babcock will host an Oscars party Sunday night.