COLUMN: You’re welcome and I’m sorry

I hope you are enjoying or looking forward to Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, which opened at The Civic on its release date.

The good news: the new Star Wars movie opened at the Civic Theatre on its release date. The bad news (although dedicated fans may disagree): no other films will screen for four weeks.

Merry Christmas Nelson! I hope you are all enjoying or looking forward to your present of Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens, which opened at The Civic on its release date. As a single-screen venue, getting this film was like fighting desperate throngs of panicked last-minute shoppers (aka Disney) to leave the department store victorious with the sole remaining “it” gift under our arm.

About this present to you: I hear it is amazingly comfortable, but I am so sorry about the size, which is way too big. A four-week run was the only size The Force Awakens came in and this Advent calendar (or “Advent California” as my almost three-year old son calls them) only has a single door covering the entire period from Dec. 18 to Jan. 14. It tastes amazing, but you’ll be gnawing on the same Star Wars chocolate in a galaxy far, far away for a long, long-time.

So like I said, you are so welcome, and again, I’m so, so sorry.

If you’ve been following The Civic’s story the last few years, you will know that this message is a locked groove on an old record, but this situation is yet another prime example for our need for additional screens. Some of you might have liked a chance to check out the available Golden Globe Best Picture-nominated films over the holiday season. Maybe you were interested in seeing Spotlight, Carol, Room, Brooklyn, Son of Saul or The Danish Girl. Perhaps you were looking forward to the hilarious antics of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler in Sisters or seeing David O’Russel’s latest Joy or The Big Short, both being released on Christmas.

We promise to do our best to play catch up on as many of these titles as possible between mid-January and the Oscars, while bringing in up to date must haves like Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, Iñárritu’s The Revenant, Charlie Kaufman’s Anomalisa, Kung Fu Panada 3, The Cohen Brothers’ Hail, Caesar! and more.

With an additional screen or two, all of these programs, as well as community events (like our annual family-friendly All-Ages New Year’s Eve Pajama Party, which we had to cancel this year due to contractual obligations) could have been accommodated alongside Star Wars four-week commitment.

Let’s never let this happen again.

I can tell you this with conviction, because I see it and hear about it daily: the biggest gift we receive at The Civic is the support of an amazing community that continues to make our non-profit society so successful. The addition of two more screens is next on our list, and in the coming year we are taking steps to finally bring that vision to fruition.

With more screens, we will be able to accommodate many more films and much more diversity on our screen, and the wide array of interactive media and community events that we would like to bring to the Nelson. More screens will ensure that Nelson will be one with the Force far into the future. More news about our capital campaign plans to follow in 2016.

Thanks everybody for such a great year.

Jason Asbell is the theatre manager, programmer and resident Wookie for the Civic Theatre.