Skip to main content

Boreal Community Media

Grand Marais Film Society hosts successful first movie at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts, second showing date announced

Oct 25, 2023 09:14AM ● By Content Editor
Photo: Laura Durenberger-Grunow

By Laura Durenberger-Grunow - Boreal Community Media - October 25, 2023


When it comes to fun indoor activities, Cook County doesn't have as many options as other areas of the state. A movie theater is one glaring example, with many people traveling to Ely, Duluth for their chance to see something on the big screen, or just skipping the movie theater experience entirely. 

One group of Cook County residents wanted to change that, and while building a new movie theater would prove to be a massive and expensive undertaking, utilizing already existing resources could work. 

And work it did. On Saturday, October 21, 2023, the Grand Marais Film Society hosted its first official screening at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts (ACA). Due to restrictions on how films can be promoted, the name cannot be announced outside of the Film Society's Facebook Group, but let's just say that it was a classic Halloween movie from Disney, released in 1993, and everyone in attendance at the movie had a witching good time. 

84 tickets sold for the event, a number which the Film Society was very happy with. Tom Morse, one of the group's founding members, shared with Boreal Community Media that with the ticket sales and the Facebook Group at 500 members, it feels like movie screenings are something the community wants. 

There is a cost to the screenings, something that the Film Society hopes to be transparent about. "It costs almost $700 to just get the film right and reserve the ACA, but there's also insurance, promotion, ticketing services, and other fees that need to be covered. With those costs included, it's roughly $750 per showing. We had just over $450 in ticket sales for the first screening, and so we anticipate needing about $300 in sponsorships per showing to make these sustainable, which can be split up amongst sponsors," Morse said. 

In the case of the October movie which features three witches, a talking cat, and a black flame candle, the cost breaks down to:
-Expenses: ACA rental $200, rights for the movie, which also includes Billy Butcherson, a talking zombie, $480
-Income: Tickets $468, donations $16, concessions $59.
-Total: -$137

Fortunately, some businesses and individuals have stepped up to help sponsor future events, which the Society hopes will take place once a month through April. In order to make that happen, the Society needs four more sponsors to step up. Anyone who is interested in learning more about becoming a sponsor should reach out to [email protected] for more information, along with learning about the great benefits that come with sponsorship.

In the Film Society Facebook Group, Morse shared that the Society was "Really encouraged by this first screening despite the finances not quite working out - and recognize that adding some more promotion and finding a few sponsors will be needed to make it possible to host a full season of films. We are also working with the film company to try and figure out options for lowering these costs while still bringing great films to the big screen."

Volunteers are also needed to make future screening events happen. Tasks include hanging up posters, ticketing on the day of the event, etc. If you're interested in volunteering, reach out to [email protected] for more information. 

The next screening will take place on November 12th, 2023, at 3 PM at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts. This screening is sponsored by Cook County resident Annie Possis, who "Celebrates movies and movie-lovers in Cook County," according to Morse. The movie title will be released within the next few days in the Facebook Group, but hints have already been floating around. 

To join the Grand Marais Film Society Facebook Group, visit: https://www.facebook.com/groups/gmfilmsociety