When we spoke to Jerry Hernandez before the inaugural IPACinema Saturday-night film series began in July, he told us that he wanted to fill every one of the 127 seats in the theater where IPACinema was taking place, and for good reason: He needed the admission revenues to rent a projector each week, because IPAC did not have one.
Well, those needed sellout crowds never came. (Given the lack of foot traffic in downtown Indio, and the fact that it was the summer in the eastern Coachella Valley, Hernandez’s goal seemed a bit, well, optimistic.) Instead, Hernandez says, crowds have ranged from a low of about five to a high of about 70, for a sing-along to Grease.
But Hernandez’s passion for film earned him some fans—and his enthusiasm paid off when several weeks into the season, which began on July 20, generous IPAC supporters came up with the money to buy IPAC a projector and a Blu-ray player.
Today, as IPACinema 2014 enters its final month, Hernandez says he feels blessed—and he has reason to feel proud, too, as his film series has been far from a failure. After all, getting 70 people to downtown Indio in the middle of the summer to see Grease is an accomplishment indeed.
“Considering the lack of advertising dollars—(publicity) has all been through Facebook, word of mouth, fliers, (the Independent’s online) article, and several other articles—I think it’s been a success. It’s definitely been a learning experience,” he said.
The Saturday-night classic-film series will conclude its first year in October. On Oct. 19, an audience-participation showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show will take place at midnight; the series will conclude with the extended director’s cut of John Carpenter’s Halloween, at 8 p.m. on Oct. 26.
Meanwhile, Hernandez says he’s started planning next year’s film series—and based on the lessons he’s learned in his first year, viewers can expect more blockbusters and family-friendly fare. While the exact schedule is up in the air, Hernandez says IPACinema may return as a monthly event as soon as February, before ramping back up to a weekly event in May or June. Potential 2014 films include Jaws, The Ten Commandments, Purple Rain, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Zoot Suit.
It’s worth repeating another thing that Hernandez told us back before the series began.
“This series is about movies as they’re meant to be seen—on the silver screen,” Hernandez says.
IPACinema’s 2013 season concludes with the Fright Film Festival, featuring screenings on Oct. 19 and 26. The Indio Performing Arts Center is located at 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.