For Jerry Hernandez, his love of film became a lifelong passion when he saw Steven Spielberg’s E.T. as a teenager.
“After walking away from the film, and (after) experiencing various emotions over those two hours, I saw that there was more to film than just pictures and images,” Hernandez says. “I wanted to direct, and create that magic and that stirring of emotions of an audience.”
However, directing was not in the cards for Hernandez, an Indio resident who has instead worked in teaching and human resources after spending much of his teen years working in theaters and video stores. But cinema is still very much a passion for Hernandez (who says he has around 1,500 films in his collection)—and he’s taken that passion to the Indio Performing Arts Center, where he’s curating a Saturday-night classic-film series that will run into October.
The weekly IPACinema series kicks off at 8 p.m., Saturday, July 20, with the United Kingdom version of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Other films in the series include Amadeus: The Director’s Cut, a newly discovered version of the complete Metropolis, and The Goonies. The plan is for the series to run through October, when it will conclude with a series of horror-film double features. (The complete schedule can be found at www.facebook.com/IPACinemaEvent.)
IPAC—a department store turned theater turned charter school turned entertainment complex—is, in one sense, a perfect place for a classic-movie series, seeing as it features big screens, stadium seating and a bar serving beer and wine. Hernandez discovered this, he says, when he saw a performance of Always … Patsy Cline at IPAC. He started talking to IPAC executive director David Clinton-Reid about the possibility of a cinema series—and it finally came to fruition this year.
Of all the films he’s booked for the series thus far, Hernandez cites Metropolis as the crown jewel. The 1927 silent Fritz Lang classic originally premiered at 2 1/2 hours long, but about an hour of the film was cut from the movie shortly thereafter, and was presumed lost. However, a version of the original print was discovered in the archives of the Museo del Cine in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2008, and after a heavy restoration, a “complete” version of the film was released in 2010. That’s the version IPAC will screen at 7 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 3.
While Hernandez’s passion for film has driven him to turn IPACinema into reality, the journey has not all been smooth sailing. One of the biggest challenges: IPAC does not own a proper movie projector, so Hernandez needs to rent one for each week’s screening. He’s counting on ticket sales and perhaps sponsorships to pay for that projector each week.
“I want to have every seat in the house full,” says Hernandez about the 127-seat theater where IPACinema will take place.
That’s an incredibly ambitious goal, especially since the series is taking place during the slow season in an area where foot traffic is rare to nonexistent. However, Hernandez is optimistic that he can make the film series a success.
“This series is about movies as they’re meant to be seen—on the silver screen,” Hernandez says.
IPACinema takes place at either 7 or 8 p.m., every Saturday, from June 20 through Oct. 26, at the Indio Performing Arts Center, 45175 Fargo St., in Indio. Tickets are $6, or $5 for children and seniors. For a complete schedule and more information, visit www.facebook.com/IPACinemaEvent.