The Projectionist, A Film Inspired by Cosford Cinema, Screens for Free Tomorrow

Sometimes we go to the movies to put our realities on hold for a while and get lost in another world. But what happens when the credits start rolling, the lights turn back on, and you still don't know how to find yourself?

n The Projectionist, Sid Newman has abandoned the sins of his past in the real world, choosing to live in the comforting darkness of the projection room. It seems like he'll be there 'til the end of his days, until Autumn Prendergrass walks into his theater to watch a movie -- even though she can't see.

The movie, the latest short by Andy Rovira of Warrier Boy Films, features more than just a compelling story. It's also a made in Miami story, shot locally and featuring music by local folk star Raffa Harris. And tomorrow, it'll screen for the first time at the same local cinema that inspired its creation.

After a chance encounter with the real-life projectionist of the Bill Cosford Cinema, Rovira knew he had to make this movie. "He took me up to the projection booth, and the place was littered with movie paraphernalia. My favorite stories are the ones that are character-heavy, and this is one human being I had to make a movie out of," Rovira said.

After two months of non-stop production collaboration with long time friend and filmmaker Steven Rico of Mupalia Pictures, the film will premiere this Thursday at the very movie theater it was shot in, University of Miami's Cosford Cinema. The screening is free; Rovira says the viewing was coordinated to express gratitude to all those involved in the making of the film.

Newman, the projectionist in the film's title, is played by Alan Heyman, a character in his own right. "He heard about the film and he embodied the character that I wrote. It was scary," Rovira said. Heyman never had the opportunity to be an actor in youth due to complications caused by narcolepsy -- the kind of story you think you only see in movies. Thanks to advances in medication, Heyman is happily pursuing his acting aspirations at age 75. Prendergrass, played by Barbara Garofalo, 19, is the young woman who shows him how to embrace life even though it's dealt her a difficult hand.

The film was made entirely with borrowed equipment and favors. Harris recorded an original score for the film, including Newman's haunting theme song.

The next step for the filmmakers is submitting the work to film festivals; the team created a Kickstarter campaign to cover the cost of those submissions. But tomorrow, all the filmmakers ask is a healthy, attentive audience. And hey, did we mention it's free?

The Projectionist premieres at the University of Miami's Cosford Cinema, 1111 Memorial Drive, Coral Gables, FL 33146, Thursday, August 9. Doors open at 6 p.m. Screening will begin at 6:30 p.m. sharp. Admission is free.

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