A new film club will be bringing great films and a great cause to the Geneva Theater on a monthly basis.
Sherm Lindsey, the founder of the Lake Geneva Film Club, said that the club’s goal is twofold — to bring acclaimed movies back to the big screen, and to raise funds for Never Say Never Inc., an organization working to build a playground for children with special needs.
The club’s first showing will be “It’s a Wonderful Life” at 7 p.m. on Dec. 21, with a $10 entry fee at the door.
Lindsey, who works at Midwest Action Cycle, 251 Host Drive, Lake Geneva, said his company rented out the theater last year, giving him a glimpse into the potential of the newly renovated space.
“We just realized this was such a neat thing,” he said of the 1920s-era theater, which reopened in 2016.
Since the reopening, the theater at 244 Broad St. has become home to many community events, including a horror film festival and performances by a local theatrical performance group.
Susan Lamberton, the events coordinator for the Geneva Theater, said that along with its normal movie schedules, the theater tries to bring in as many community events as possible.
“We definitely want to bring different, new venues to the area,” she said.
Lamberton said that the theater will continue bringing new community events to the area in the new year.
In particular, she said the theater is looking into a streaming service that will allow people who come to the theater to watch plays being performed in London.
The Lake Geneva Film Club will show a film at the Geneva Theater once a month that will be followed by a discussion session, Lindsey said. The club’s showings will be open to the public.
With the exception of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” most of the films shown will not be very mainstream, to give the club a “film connoisseur” atmosphere, Lindsey said.
The idea to donate the $10 entry fee to the Never Say Never Playland came from Lindsey’s previous experience working with the group through Midwest Action Cycle.
Lindsey said he picked Never Say Never Inc. because of its important mission and its local connection.
“Larger charities, they’re too big and too large, and you’re not really sure where your money is actually going,” he said. “This one is about as close to home as you can possibly get.”
Dusti Ocampo, president of Never Say Never, said she was thankful when she received the call from Lindsey about the donation.
“I am beyond grateful,” she said. “This is exactly what we need right now. And it’s just going to spread awareness 100 percent and help us get the word out there.”
Ocampo said that the organization has raised about 30 percent of its $520,000 goal.
This goal was lowered from the initial goal of $1 million, Ocampo explained, after a reconfiguration of the plans with the design company.
Now, she said, the playground should be up and running by August 2018.
Along with the satisfaction of donating to a good cause, those who attend the film club’s screenings will also be seeing films the way Lindsey believes they were meant to be seen.
“In today’s day and age, there’s so many distractions when you sit at home and watch a film,” he said. “It doesn’t get the respect it deserves. In a movie theater, it’s all black, it’s quiet. You get to truly immerse yourself.”