Every second Saturday of the month, South Valley film fans
gather together to celebrate the magic of cinema. The popular Movie
Magic Night hosted by the Poppy Jasper Film Festival is a fun way
for Morgan Hill, Gilroy and San Benito County residents to meet
each other and discuss the art and craft of fine films.
Every second Saturday of the month, South Valley film fans gather together to celebrate the magic of cinema. The popular Movie Magic Night hosted by the Poppy Jasper Film Festival is a fun way for Morgan Hill, Gilroy and San Benito County residents to meet each other and discuss the art and craft of fine films.
“We call it ‘magic’ because we share with each other the enchantment of viewing a top-quality movie, and then enjoying conversation about it over dinner with new friends,” said Jay Jaso, a Movie Magic Night organizer. “These new friends are people who want to leisurely savor the pleasure of a story well-told.”
Movie Magic Night started as a way to continue the love of movies in the South Valley region beyond the Poppy Jasper Film Festival, a short-film festival in Morgan Hill which this year will be held on the weekend of Nov. 12-14. The idea originated at a marketing committee meeting for the festival to keep the spirit of Poppy Jasper going throughout the year, Jaso said.
Movie Magic Nights works like a “book club for movie lovers,” Jay explained. People watch the selected film as a group – free popcorn is always provided. After the showing, participants enjoy a fine-dining restaurant dinner as host Carleigh Arnold leads the discussion of what people saw in the film. The event alternates every month between Ragoots restaurant in downtown Morgan Hill and Lizzarran in downtown Gilroy
“The discussions are a treat in themselves in that we learn so much about the movie by details and insights that each of us individual observe in the movie,” Jaso said.
Before the main feature, a short film from the Poppy Jasper Film Festival’s archives is shown. “Over the past six years, the film festival has screened nearly 300 imaginative, unique short films from around the world, and Movie Magic Nights lets us reshare these treasures with new friends,” Jaso said.
Past Movie Magic Nights have shown classic flicks such as “Enchanted April,” “Shakespeare in Love,” and “Chinatown.” The next Movie Magic Night showing will take place on Oct. 9 at the Lizzaran restaurant in downtown Gilroy. The movie will be the classic “La Bamba,” which tells the story of 1950s rock ‘n’ roller singer Richie Valens. It was directed by El Teatro Campesino playwright and director Luis Valdez, who will be a guest speaker at the Poppy Jasper Film Festival on the evening event of Nov. 13 at Live Oak High School’s theater.
Movie Magic Nights often feature surprise guests to make the experience even more fun for participants. At the August showing of “Shakespeare in Love,” actors from the Northern California Renaissance Faire portraying Queen Elizabeth I and William Shakespeare chatted with guests about what life was like in their Tudor times.
The “La Bamba” showing will have special guest Vance Piper who served as the cinematographer for the film. “In addition to the enjoyment of our conversing about it as novices, we’ll also have the pleasure of hearing a lot of the inside story about the making of the movie from someone involved in filming it,” Jaso said. “Piper went on to be involved in filming hits such as ‘Avatar,’ ‘Forrest Gump,’ and several episodes of ‘Star Wars.'”
Movie Magic Night
Featured film: “La Bamba,” with special guest Vance Piper
When: Saturday, Oct. 9 at 5 p.m.
Where: Lizzaran Restaurant, 7400 Monterey St., downtown Gilroy
Popcorn and movie are free; set-course dinner costs $20.
Dinner tickets can be purchased at BookSmart bookstore in Morgan Hill, Garlic City Books in Gilroy, or at the door on Movie Magic Night.
For more information, call (408) 310-7644 or visit the Poppy Jasper Film Festival website at www.poppyjaserperfilmfest.org.