While Motorco Music Hall has been used for many things, from concerts to fashion shows to community game nights to its weekly "Bloody Brunch" on Sundays, co-owner and general manager Jeremy Roth says the place basically lucked out at being a spot for local filmmakers and organizations to show films.
"I had built a large screen and hung a projector, mostly for Duke/ UNC games," says Roth. "But there were some local filmmakers who wanted to show snippets to raise production money or to show completed films. Also, local groups like Durham People's Alliance wanted to show social films. Lots of people came to these events, so we started seeking out other documentary films."
The music hall has also been a spot for cable-less couch potatoes to watch Mad Men and Breaking Bad for free when their seasons commence. This September, the music hall will start up "CineMotorco," a film series featuring alternative celluloid selections. It begins with two visiting films: All the Labor, a documentary on eccentric alt-country Austin band The Gourds, which will play on Sept. 4. The following night brings Triple Fisher: The Lethal Lolitas of Long Island, a found-footage mashup of the three Amy Fisher TV-movies that aired in the early '90s.
"[We're] just formalizing what has been an ad-hoc smattering of events and trying to cultivate the experience with a cute brand name," says Roth.
Roth says anybody who has a film is welcome to use their venue. They do need to remember a couple of things. "Mostly, they just have to have a professional approach so that I can have confidence that it will be a quality event," he says. "Hopefully, [the films] are high quality, but it's more important that people come out for them, and even more important that they buy a drink so we can pay rent."
Our fall film picks
Dates are subject to change.
At the top of the must-see list this fall are two films that are vying for the title of Best Certain-To-Be-Oscar-Nominated Period Piece About Scumbags Living the High Life. First up is Leonardo DiCaprio, again as Martin Scorsese's leading man, in the '80s-set black comedy The Wolf of Wall Street (Nov. 15). Silver Linings Playbook director David O. Russell takes us back even further, to the '70s, with Abscam drama American Hustle (Dec. 25), starring Christian Bale (rocking a paunch and a comb-over) and Amy Adams, along with Playbook's Bradley Cooper and golden girl Jennifer Lawrence.
Other acclaimed directors will hit audiences with Oscar bait. The Coen Brothers travel to the folk era of the '60s with Inside Llewyn Davis (Dec. 20), starring Carey Mulligan and Justin Timberlake. Alexander Payne (The Descendants) helms the father-son tale Nebraska (Nov. 22), starring Bruce Dern and former SNLer Will Forte. And eccentric video director-turned-eccentric movie auteur Spike Jonze gets all lovey-dovey with Her (Jan. 10), starring Joaquin Phoenix as a man who falls in love with a computer operating system (voiced by Scarlett Johansson).
Judging by the onslaught of films he's involved in this season, fall is George Clooney's favorite time of year. The matinee idol will star alongside Sandra Bullock in Alfonso Cuarón's lost-in-space thriller Gravity (Oct. 4), along with starring and directing The Monuments Men (Dec. 18), a WWII art-heist movie co-starring Matt Damon, Bill Murray and "The Artist" himself, Jean Dujardin. He also had a hand in producing August: Osage Country (Dec. 25), the all-star, dysfunctional-family drama adapted from Tracy Letts' stage smash and starring Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep.
Blockbusters will also be dropping amid the prestige flicks. Jennifer Lawrence returns with bow and arrow for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Nov. 22). Liam Hemsworth once again picks up the hammer in the sequel Thor: The Dark World (Nov. 8). Director Peter Jackson returns to Middle Earth with The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Dec. 13). And Chris Pine goes from rebooting Star Trek to rebooting Tom Clancy in the espionage adventure Jack Ryan (Dec. 25). Previous Jack Ryans Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck will star in their own major releases—Ender's Game (Nov. 1) and Runner Runner (Oct. 4), respectively. (Oh, yes—we're looking forward to the Orson Scott Card arguments on Facebook when Ender's Game comes out.)
But who are we kidding here? In all likelihood, you're all waiting for Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (Dec. 20), where Will Ferrell will don the moustache again as bumbling newsman Ron Burgundy. Well, until that day comes, stay classy—you smelly hooker pirates!