BY EMILY GAGNE
Since we first discovered them in 2012, we have been absolutely smitten with 360 Screenings, Toronto’s premiere live theatre meets movie screening experience. We’ve attended and reviewed every single one of the events, which are themed around a specific film and include reenactments from eerily apt actors (see: October’s haunting Exorcist ode) as well as apropos food and drink selections, ever since. This time last year, they did a wonderfully whimsical tribute to Amelie in honour of Valentine’s Day. They’re back with another romantic holiday offering (360 Screenings: Love) this Friday and Saturday, and one that promises to be, as they tell it, a real party.
Last week we chatted with busy bees, 360 founders and real-life couple Robert Gontier and Ned Loach. Check out our Q&A below for some hints as to what this year’s Valentine’s movie may be (did we mention they keep the film’s identity a secret until you get there, prompting you to channel future movie star Veronica Mars for the weeks preceding it?), and talk of the greatest cinematic romances of all-time.
How is the week before an event for you? Is it just nuts?
Robert: It’s pretty, pretty busy. This is generally the time that everything is confirmed–all of the final casting and design concepts are approved this week and then we go and source the props. So yeah, it’s pretty busy!
Would you say that this year’s event is bigger, in scale, than last year’s Amelie one?
Robert: I guess it’s different because the Amelie one was just over one night, but this one is over three screenings. So, with Amelie we had about 250 people and this one next weekend will have less people–probably about the same number of people as our One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest event.
But judging from the picture clues that you’ve teased thus far (see above), this one does seem to have a flashier vibe, suggesting it’s bigger in terms of production than the quirky, real-life feel of Amelie.
Robert: Yeah! People were actually really excited because this concept is a little bit larger concept-wise than Amelie, but the venue is a little bit more intimate.
Do you want to give Cinefilles a special hint that readers can take into this screening? Perhaps a word?
Ned: Yeah, we’re definitely going with it being a party. It’s going to be a big, rockin’ party!
You guys are a real-life love story yourselves. What movies are important to you as a couple?
Ned: I can think of one — Atonement — I think I can guess what Bobby will say!
Robert: One special movie for us is It’s a Wonderful Life. We started dating at the end of fall, early winter and it’s one of my favourite movies. So on one of our first dates, we got to watch it together.
Ned: And I saw Atonement before Bobby and I met, but he got it for me for Christmas and it’s one of my favourite movies ever.
It sounds like you’ve got quite the connection to Christmas! Would you ever do a Christmas 360? Have you ever thought about it?
Robert: We love Christmas! It’s one of our favourite times of year, but we find that it’s a really busy time of year for everyone because there’s so many family events happening on top of other social events.
We actually do have a list of Christmas movies that we’d love to do, though, if we do open it up to that holiday.
Which actors do you think have the best movie chemistry of all-time?
Robert: I would say an older one for me is Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally… And I know it’s so cheesy, but Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling in The Notebook. They have great chemistry!
Ned: There was a movie we were just watching together where I said, ‘They had great chemistry together?’
Robert: The one with Julia Louis-Dreyfus?
Ned: Yes! With James Gandolfini!
Do you have a plan for the next year in terms of how you’re going to roll out your events? Are you still going to do them every couple of months, with the next one possibly coming in the spring?
Ned: Yeah, it will be kind of like what we did last year with the Valentine’s one, one in the springtime, around late May/early June, and one around Halloween time.
And we have some really exciting possibilities with collaborations. We’re currently working on that and it should be really, really exciting.
Is there anything else you want to add about this specific screening before I let you go?
Robert: I think when the general public thinks of Valentine’s Day, they think of it as a time where they need to be with someone they love, or a partner. But one of the things we loved about Amelie, and that we’re doing this time around, is that you can come with just friends, you can come on your own and it will still be a great night. It’s dedicated to the theme of love, but it’s all about having a good time.
Be sure to check out 360 Screenings: LOVE Friday, Feb. 7 at 7 p.m., and Saturday, Feb. 8 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets can be bought online and attendees will receive the location and preparation instructions the day before the event.