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Growth of cineSarnia sets reel milestone

Cathy Dobson Sarnians love their movies. That’s quality movies, many of them Canadian, that aren’t necessarily shown in mainstream theatres.
In the movie Remember, Christopher Plummer, right, plays a man who discovers the Nazi guard who killed his family 70 years ago is living in America under an assumed identity Submitted Photo

Cathy Dobson

Sarnians love their movies.

That’s quality movies, many of them Canadian, that aren’t necessarily shown in mainstream theatres.

How do I know?

My best indicator is the overwhelming success of cineSARNIA, which moving into its 21st year and selling more tickets than ever.

The most recent cineSARNIA film was Learning To Drive starring Ben Kingsley and Patricia Clarkson.  It attracted more than 350 to the Sarnia Library auditorium for each of two nights.  At least 100 people lined up each night for rush tickets.

“If interest continues to be that good we may look at adding an extra showing,” says cineSARNIA President John Callaghan.  “Obviously, the community likes what we are bringing in.”

Callaghan is part of a local board of movie enthusiasts who attend the Toronto International Film Festival and Sudbury CineFest each year to select 11 films for screening at cineSARNIA.

The idea originated with George Allan and the late Peter Henderson in 1995 and is enjoying record audiences.

CineSARNIA was initially named cineSeries and showed movies at the movie theatre. It’s one of the most successful film groups in Ontario, according to Allan.

Over two decades, more than 200 movies have been screened in Sarnia, several of them Golden Globe award winners.

Currently, there are 560 season tickets holders, the highest number in organization’s history, said Callaghan.  His group is able to meet their expenses, award two scholarships annually and make charitable donations.

“CineSARNIA is a real success story for Sarnia,” says Callaghan’s wife and fellow board member, Carolyn.

“Our events have a really nice community feel about them.”

The CineSARNIA season is split into fall and winter sales. It costs $77 for the entire season but memberships are available for the upcoming winter season only. They cost $42 and cover six films that play from January to April.

The first in the winter series plays this weekend. Remember is directed by Atom Egoyan and stars Christopher Plummer, Dean Norris and Martin Landau.

It’s the compelling story of an elderly man who discovers the Nazi guard that murdered his family many years before is living under an assumed identity in the United States. The elderly man sets off to deliver justice on an epic cross-country mission with several unexpected turns.

The rest of the winter series features Suite Francaise, Brooklyn, Al Purdy Was Here, The Lady in the Van, and a film TBA.

For a schedule of times and dates, or to purchase memberships, visit  Rush tickets cost $9.


WHAT: The CineSARNIA winter series begins with the film Remember.

WHEN:  Sunday, Jan. 10 and Monday, Jan. 11, starting at 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Sarnia Library Auditorium.


The Lawrence House Centre for the Arts presents the annual Floyd Gibson Members' Juried Show, opening on First Friday Jan. 8 and closing Jan. 30. The show is named in memory of Floyd Gibson, fondly remembered as a teacher, principal, painter and active supporter of the Lawrence House Centre for the Arts.

The Mayor's Awards will be presented at the opening, including a $250 first prize, $150 second prize and a $100 third prize.

The awards are donated by Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley.

The Arts Journal is a weekly feature reflecting the cultural fabric of our community. If you have an idea, contact Cathy Dobson at [email protected] or 226-932-0985.

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