Poor Attendance at FOLA Movies Causes Major Schedule Change

At a special meeting of FOLA (Friends of Ludlow Auditorium) on Saturday, the board members decided to cancel a major portion of its 2022 movie schedule due to “very poor attendance” according to Jim Alic, FOLA chairman.

In discussing the attendance decline, Alic indicated that the board would cancel all movies scheduled for April through July.  “The screening of movies will be renewed on August 20 with the annual ‘Silent Movie Festival’”, he added.  At that time, Jeff Rapsis will return to offer his unique musical background to the Alfred Hitchcock silent film, “The Lodger”.

While much of the cause of the drop in attendance may be attributed to the Covid pandemic, Scott Stearns, Program Director for FOLA, believed that a “much more basic factor was at play”.  He noted a recent Gallup survey that showed that movie attendance had decreased threefold in 2021 compared to 2019.  This level of decrease was even greater for non-urban areas of the country.

He further commented that the impact of streaming on the Internet probably was the single most significant driving force in this decrease.

The FOLA board plans to develop new strategies to make movies and other events in the auditorium more attractive.  Details on this will be made public in future announcements.

As a result of this decision, the tentative revised schedule, according to Stearns, will include:
Aug. 20 – Silent Movie Festival (featuring Alfred Hitchcock’s “The              Lodger”)
Sep. 17 – “Moscow on the Hudson”
Oct. 8 – “Good Morning, Vietnam”
Oct. 29 – “Awakenings”
Dec. 17 – “It’s a Wonderful Life”

The September and October movies will be part of a Robin Williams series that will begin with a presentation by Rick Winston, a film historian, who will discuss the background of the films and Williams’ roles.

In addition to the revised movie schedule, FOLA has tentatively planned on conducting two candidate forums for the primary and general elections.  The primary forum is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, July 21 and the general election forum for Thursday, Oct. 13.