5 Questions: Jennifer Zwarich

By Alison Rooney

Jennifer Zwarich is a co-founder of the Cold Spring Film Society, which begins its ninth season of free summer screenings at Dockside Park on Saturday, June 29.

Jennifer Zwarich in the society’s trailer (Photo provided)

What motivated the society’s organizers in 2011?
When we lived in the city, my husband John Wayland and I frequented outdoor screenings in Brooklyn and Manhattan. For years after moving here we talked about how perfect Dockside Park would be for similar shows, but it didn’t happen until Stephanie Hawkins set up a meeting and pushed all of us to do it. The motivation was always to bring the community together, because everyone likes movies!

What was the first film?
The Princess Bride. We borrowed a projector and threw together a screen out of scrap. We thought we’d get a few dozen people, but we had 600.

Has the technology advanced?
Due to many, many donations, our projector is exponentially brighter, which means that we can start the screenings closer to sunset, and our screen is more than twice as large. We have multiple sets of speakers so we reach into the back of larger audiences without blowing out the rest of the village.

Do you need volunteers?
We’re looking for a couple of dedicated people to join our operating committee and board. Bring your ideas for programming and offseason events and help us make it happen. Find one of us at a screening or email info@coldspringfilm.org.

You’re also the chair of the village’s Tree Advisory Board. Do you have any favorite cinematic tree moments?
Sure. Audiences of the earliest motion pictures were famously more fascinated by the motion of wind blowing in a tree in the far background of Louis Lumiere’s Feeding the Baby [1895, below] than in the baby. They hadn’t been trained in the narrative order and let their eyes wander over the frame, or so the theory goes.

There’s also the tree hit by Jimmy Stewart’s car in It’s a Wonderful Life [1946], the amazing treehouse tree in Swiss Family Robinson [1960], the demonic tree in Poltergeist [1982] and the moment Treebeard trains his eye on the hobbits in The Lord of the Rings [1978 and 2002]. If you ask my kids, they’ll likely shout, “I am Groot!,” [from Guardians of the Galaxy], but my favorite tree is the magic and majestic animated Camphor in My Neighbor Totoro [1988], from which springs all manner of hope and dreams.

The 2019 Films

Raising Arizona (June 29)*
The Big Sleep (July 13)
Thelma and Louise (July 27)
Rosemary’s Baby (Aug. 10)
Field of Dreams (Aug. 24)
Mary Poppins (Sept. 20) at Boscobel

*Rained out twice last year

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