Published: 10/23/2021 9:42:14 PM Modified: 10/23/2021 9:43:39 PM
By LIZ SAUCHELLI Valley News Staff Writer
People who head to the Quechee Public Library on Thursday to watch the short film The Stooge will have a real treat waiting for them: A chance to talk with the film’s director, Rogelio Fojo. Fojo moved to the Upper Valley from Los Angeles this April to be closer to his daughter, who is a student at Dartmouth College. When he found out about the library’s newly formed cinema club, he was eager to connect. “I always had this romantic image of the U.S. from reading Mark Twain in Uruguay and I didn’t find it in L.A.,” said Fojo, who is originally from the South American country. “When I moved here, I suddenly found all of the places that Mark Twain used to write about and I love it.” The cinema club is in a hybrid in-person and online format. There is space for up to 10 participants at the Quechee Public Library and room for 100 to participate via Zoom. Registration for the 6 p.m. Thursday screening of The Stooge is required by emailing John Fancher at firstname.lastname@example.org. “With the opportunity to talk to the director during his film, we had to take it,” Fancher said.
Fancher, a circulation desk assistant and program coordinator for the cinema club at the Quechee and Wilder libraries, started the club over the summer. It had its first meeting in September when they watched the short film Wave, by Irish director Benjamin Cleary. After working through a few technical issues, the joint virtual/in-person format was a success.
“It’s an awesome boon for us,” Fancher said. “Even when we’re out of COVID, it’ll be great for wintertime meetings when people can’t get in because of the snow or if they’re sick but still want to see everyone.”
Fojo is a member of the club and approached Fancher about screening his film. The screenplay for The Stooge, which is roughly 20 minutes long, was written by science fiction writer Christopher Priest, a friend of Fojo’s who is known for the book The Prestige, which was later turned into a feature film about rival magicians starring Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale.
Like The Prestige, The Stooge also draws on the world of magicians. It stars actors Pat Scott and Adam Sonnet and magicians Pop Haydn and Carisa Hendrix; Scott stars as a man who applies for a job as a magician’s assistant and gets more than he bargained for.
The Stooge was filmed in 2019 and won 17 awards from various film festivals. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic started and slowed some of Fojo’s projects.
“It was really risky to do anything,” he said.
Since moving to New England, Fojo has been working on two projects he plans to film here: Futouristic, a short film based on another of Priest’s short stories, and a feature-length horror film titled Caleguinas, which is based on a story by Argentinian writer Fernando Sorrentino.
“I’m here and kind of want to restart my filmmaking career that was started in L.A.,” Fojo said.
The event with Fojo is likely a special treat that will be rare for the club going forward. Fancher will be focusing on using films that can be found on Kanopy, a free streaming service provided by the library. The club is democratically led, meaning members have a say in what films will be shown. The November meeting will focus on silent films that people can watch ahead of time before discussing together.
“I’m just so excited and stoked for this,” said Fancher, who describes himself as an amateur film buff.
People of all ages, including teenagers, are welcome to attend. Fancher cautions that some of the films will feature serious topics and serious discussions, so parents should be aware or participate with their children.
“It could be a great way for cross-generational connection,” Fancher said. “That’s the great thing about films and other things available at the library. People who don’t have anything in common can have access to things and tour the library and then, boom, a common ground.”
Liz Sauchelli can be reached at email@example.com or 603-727-3221.