May 26th, 2024

Local documentary finding global success; set to premiere at Hong Kong film festival

By Medicine Hat News on May 14, 2024.

"Your Cinema Needs You" produced by local filmmaker Luke Fandrich will be shown later this month during a film festival in Hong Kong, one of several globe screening this spring and summer. Fandrich poses for a photo among film relics from the past in the basement of the Monarch Theatre.--SUBMITTED PHOTO

A local documentary is beginning to receive worldwide recognition after it has been screened at 14 film festivals internationally and will appear at the Hong Kong Indie Film Festival later this month.

Local filmmaker Luke Fandrich says his documentary, “Your Cinema Needs You,” has already been screened at film festivals in Germany, Sweden, Hungary, Turkey, Scotland, Japan as well as festivals in Toronto, L.A., Chicago and potentially New York later in May.

To date, Fandrich has submitted the Monarch Theatre film, which tells the story of Canada’s potentially oldest surviving purpose-built movie house, to 60 film festivals globally and says the film’s success has been “amazing” and he wasn’t expecting it to have reached such a diverse audience.

“That’s pretty incredible,” says Fandrich, explaining his surprise that applications in both Tokyo and Hong Kong were accepted. “The variety, I’m just blown away.”

Even though many audiences who watch “Your Cinema Needs You” may not know where Medicine Hat is located, they are able to connect to the evolution of cinema beginning from the silent era, says Fandrich.

He explains the film received overwhelming positive reviews from an audience in Stockholm, Sweden who watched Fandrich’s documentary in that nation’s oldest surviving cinema built in 1913.

“The Monarch is actually older than the oldest cinema in Sweden,” says Fandrich. “It’s also a single screen cinema just like a Monarch and so this is a perfect connection.

“Even though these people in Sweden will probably have no idea where Medicine Hat, Alberta is, they will relate to the fact that here’s this old cinema that’s a single-screen cinema that started in the silent era. And sure enough it did, it resonated at that festival.”

He says audiences around the globe have been able to connect to the trials and tribulations cinemas underwent as they evolved and adapted to a changing movie industry over decades of time.

Fandrivch says in the early 1900s “everybody was building movie theatres at the exact same time around the world.”

“The fact that we have this one here in Medicine Hat is an example of exactly what has happened with the progression of film,” he says. “It relates to all of these other countries … that’s been pretty amazing to see that.”

“Your Cinema Needs You” has been submitted to 60 international film festivals. Fandrich says he is still waiting on a response from more than 20 of those festivals.

Later this month “Your Cinema Needs You” will return to the Monarch for its final five local public screenings between May 30 to June 2. Later this summer Fandrich will be working to release the documentary over TELUS.

Tickets for upcoming shows can be purchased online by visiting

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