They’ve hosted a “Gremlins” Ugly Sweater Christmas Party, a “Serenity” Party and a Nic Cage Night, and they’re just getting started. The Fifth Reel is a film series launched last fall by Alonso Melgar and Dan Crittendon, former Uptown Stage and Screen employees who missed that venue’s tradition of fun, late-night screenings.
“When we started doing Fifth Reel, Uptown had been closed for at least a year,” Melgar explains. “There were other cool movie groups doing things in the city, like the Calgary Underground Film Festival and Cinematheque, but there wasn’t really a consistent, monthly thing where you could go out and watch a late-night movie and be rowdy.”
The series kicked off with a “Jurassic Park” Beach Party last November.
“We decorated the theatre like a beach party. We showed ‘Jurassic Park’ and gave out prizes, and the Pine Tarts played,” says Melgar.
Melgar and Crittendon now work at the Plaza Theatre, which hosts the Fifth Reel events and serves as a hatching ground for event ideas.
“We have a rough list of what we’d like to do,” Melgar explains, “and then every month we go to it and decide what would be best for the month, or just what we feel like doing.”
Once the theme is decided, invitations go Fifth Reel club members, who now number more than 700. The increasing popularity of the series doesn’t surprise Melgar.
“I think Calgary’s a city that likes to do stuff like this. This is not a very quiet city.”