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Last updateMon, 20 Apr 2020 1pm

When we spoke to Jerry Hernandez before the inaugural IPACinema Saturday-night film series began in July, he told us that he wanted to fill every one of the 127 seats in the theater where IPACinema was taking place, and for good reason: He needed the admission revenues to rent a projector each week, because IPAC did not have one.

Well, those needed sellout crowds never came. (Given the lack of foot traffic in downtown Indio, and the fact that it was the summer in the eastern Coachella Valley, Hernandez's goal seemed a bit, well, optimistic.) Instead, Hernandez says, crowds have ranged from a low of about five to a high of about 70, for a sing-along to Grease.

But Hernandez’s passion for film earned him some fans—and his enthusiasm paid off when several weeks into the season, which began on July 20, generous IPAC supporters came up with the money to buy IPAC a projector and a Blu-ray player.

Today, as IPACinema 2014 enters its final month, Hernandez says he feels blessed—and he has reason to feel proud, too, as his film series has been far from a failure. After all, getting 70 people to downtown Indio in the middle of the summer to see Grease is an accomplishment indeed.

“Considering the lack of advertising dollars—(publicity) has all been through Facebook, word of mouth, fliers, (the Independent’s online) article, and several other articles—I think it’s been a success. It’s definitely been a learning experience,” he said.

The Saturday-night classic-film series will conclude its first year in October. On Oct. 19, an audience-participation showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show will take place at midnight; the series will conclude with the extended director’s cut of John Carpenter’s Halloween, at 8 p.m. on Oct. 26.

Meanwhile, Hernandez says he’s started planning next year’s film series—and based on the lessons he’s learned in his first year, viewers can expect more blockbusters and family-friendly fare. While the exact schedule is up in the air, Hernandez says IPACinema may return as a monthly event as soon as February, before ramping back up to a weekly event in May or June. Potential 2014 films include Jaws, The Ten Commandments, Purple Rain, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Zoot Suit.

It’s worth repeating another thing that Hernandez told us back before the series began.

“This series is about movies as they’re meant to be seen—on the silver screen,” Hernandez says.

IPACinema’s 2013 season concludes with the Fright Film Festival, featuring screenings on Oct. 19 and 26. The Indio Performing Arts Center is located at 45175 Fargo St., in Indio. Tickets are $6, or $5 for children and seniors. For a complete schedule and more information, visit www.facebook.com/IPACinemaEvent.

Published in Previews and Features

For Jerry Hernandez, his love of film became a lifelong passion when he saw Steven Spielberg’s E.T. as a teenager.

“After walking away from the film, and (after) experiencing various emotions over those two hours, I saw that there was more to film than just pictures and images,” Hernandez says. “I wanted to direct, and create that magic and that stirring of emotions of an audience.”

However, directing was not in the cards for Hernandez, an Indio resident who has instead worked in teaching and human resources after spending much of his teen years working in theaters and video stores. But cinema is still very much a passion for Hernandez (who says he has around 1,500 films in his collection)—and he’s taken that passion to the Indio Performing Arts Center, where he’s curating a Saturday-night classic-film series that will run into October.

The weekly IPACinema series kicks off at 8 p.m., Saturday, July 20, with the United Kingdom version of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Other films in the series include Amadeus: The Director’s Cut, a newly discovered version of the complete Metropolis, and The Goonies. The plan is for the series to run through October, when it will conclude with a series of horror-film double features. (The complete schedule can be found at www.facebook.com/IPACinemaEvent.)

IPAC—a department store turned theater turned charter school turned entertainment complex—is, in one sense, a perfect place for a classic-movie series, seeing as it features big screens, stadium seating and a bar serving beer and wine. Hernandez discovered this, he says, when he saw a performance of Always … Patsy Cline at IPAC. He started talking to IPAC executive director David Clinton-Reid about the possibility of a cinema series—and it finally came to fruition this year.

Of all the films he’s booked for the series thus far, Hernandez cites Metropolis as the crown jewel. The 1927 silent Fritz Lang classic originally premiered at 2 1/2 hours long, but about an hour of the film was cut from the movie shortly thereafter, and was presumed lost. However, a version of the original print was discovered in the archives of the Museo del Cine in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2008, and after a heavy restoration, a “complete” version of the film was released in 2010. That’s the version IPAC will screen at 7 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 3.

While Hernandez’s passion for film has driven him to turn IPACinema into reality, the journey has not all been smooth sailing. One of the biggest challenges: IPAC does not own a proper movie projector, so Hernandez needs to rent one for each week’s screening. He’s counting on ticket sales and perhaps sponsorships to pay for that projector each week.

“I want to have every seat in the house full,” says Hernandez about the 127-seat theater where IPACinema will take place.

That’s an incredibly ambitious goal, especially since the series is taking place during the slow season in an area where foot traffic is rare to nonexistent. However, Hernandez is optimistic that he can make the film series a success.

“This series is about movies as they’re meant to be seen—on the silver screen,” Hernandez says.

IPACinema takes place at either 7 or 8 p.m., every Saturday, from June 20 through Oct. 26, at the Indio Performing Arts Center, 45175 Fargo St., in Indio. Tickets are $6, or $5 for children and seniors. For a complete schedule and more information, visit www.facebook.com/IPACinemaEvent.

Published in Previews and Features