Marqueetown, a film by Joseph Beyer and Jordan Anderson | Marqueetown Photo
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Those of you who’ve been reading the Gazette for a while know that I have a passion for movies and filmmaking. In my former writing life, I was an entertainment writer covering the film industry for sites like People Magazine, Huffington Post and Variety, and also had my own syndicated family movie column, Reel Life With Jane.

And of course, there’s Tim’s experience being a guard at the Mexican Drive-In at Bowers Harbor in the 1960s. Read his story about that wild and woolly time here.

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So I’m pretty excited that we have filmmakers right here on the Old Mission Peninsula, including Rich Brauer and my friends Joe Beyer and Beth Milligan, who moved to the Peninsula a few years ago and are restoring the old Allen place (aka “The Green Joint” if you grew up with Tim) on Old Mission Road, now called Stone Hill Farm.

Joe recently sent along a note about his new film, “Marqueetown,” a documentary that’s launching an independent tour across 15 cities to benefit arthouse movie theaters and arts venues. Joe cowrote and directed the film, Beth Milligan produced it, Andrew Dost is the composer, and Michael Albaugh plays a part in the re-creations. All of these folks are residents of the Old Mission Peninsula.

The film is 100 percent Made-in-Michigan by year-round creatives in this community. Locations include the State Theatre in Traverse City, The Garden Theater in Frankfort, the Elk Rapids Cinema, and the Cherry Bowl Drive-In in Honor (which is currently for sale).

Marqueetown, a film by Joseph Beyer and Jordan Anderson | Marqueetown Photo
Marqueetown, a film by Joseph Beyer and Jordan Anderson | Marqueetown Photo

The documentary tells the story of Marquette’s beloved historic Nordic and Delft theaters, stars dozens of real-life Michigan locations and characters, and features a Traverse City-based cast and crew.

Based on the work of Bernie Rosendahl, “Marqueetown” tells the true story of one Michigan resident’s modern crusade to restore the historic arthouse of his youth to its former glory, a quest that leads the filmmakers to discover a hidden cinema empire in the Upper Peninsula. Portraying the fascinating 100-year-history of motion pictures through one iconic screen, “Marqueetown” is about chasing your dreams, redefining failure and success, and remembering the enduring magic of movies.

In an effort to shine attention on cherished theaters in communities across Michigan and support them, “Marqueetown” is flipping the script on the standard theatrical splits and donating 100 percent of all ticket sales to each venue – funds that will go directly back to the hosts for operations, preservation, and maintenance of these local gems.

Marqueetown, a film by Joseph Beyer (pictured, right) and Jordan Anderson | Marqueetown Photo
Marqueetown, a film by Joseph Beyer (pictured, right) and Jordan Anderson | Marqueetown Photo

Iconic stops will include The Crystal Falls Theatre in the Upper Peninsula, The Lyric Theatre in Harbor Springs, The Vogue Theatre in Manistee, The Rogers Theater in Rogers City, Elk Rapids Cinema in Elk Rapids, The Garden Theater in Frankfort, The Park Theatre in Holland, The Wealthy Theatre in Grand Rapids, The Bay Community Theatre in Suttons Bay, The Michigan Theatre in Ann Arbor, the Capital City Film Festival in Lansing, and The Senate Theater of Detroit, among others still being added. The film will also play at Sperry’s Moviehouse of Holland and Port Huron for a one-week theatrical engagement April 26 to May 2.

Traverse City showings include:

The full tour schedule, including links for reservations, can be found at Marqueetown.com. Most screenings are $10 per ticket and include moderated Q&A panel conversations with the cast and crew following the film.

With the recent announcement of the closing of the beloved Maple Theater in Birmingham Hills (where interviews for this project were shot a year ago), or the end of Joe Yuchasz’ 50-year run at the Elk Rapids Cinema, the message of “Marqueetown” couldn’t be more relevant or timely.

As reported just this week by Indiewire, “Like hospitals, post offices, schools, churches, and parks, theaters make up the fabric of what it means to live in a city or neighborhood. They’re establishments that we take for granted but, as bookstores demonstrated, they can become an endangered species.”

Written and directed by Joseph Beyer and Jordan Anderson, “Marqueetown” features archival photography from Orson Welles’ last cinematographer Gary Graver and famed archivist and photographer Jack Deo. Diana Milock (“Fitful,” “Make Mine Country”) and Kathleen Glynn “(Savage Waters,” “Bowling for Columbine”) are executive producers. Music supervision is by Willa Yudell (“Call Jane,” “Arnold”) alongside an original score by Grammy Award-winning artist Andrew Dost (“Beirut Dreams in Color,” “It’s Me, Hilary: The Man Who Drew Eloise”).

Marqueetown, a film by Joseph Beyer and Jordan Anderson | Marqueetown Photo
Marqueetown, a film by Joseph Beyer and Jordan Anderson | Marqueetown Photo

“Marqueetown” debuted as a “Work in Progress Sneak Peek” at the 2023 Fresh Coast Film Festival in Marquette and was an award finalist for the inaugural Sanctuary Selections competition at the 2024 Thunder Bay Film Festival in Alpena. The world premiere of “Marqueetown” will take place Easter Sunday, March 31, at 7 p.m. at The Alluvion in Traverse City, celebrating the 88-year anniversary of the grand opening of the Nordic Theater in 1936. Free popcorn will be served.

For more info, visit the film’s official website or email [email protected]. Follow the film on Facebook and Instagram. Also, check out this story that ran in Traverse Magazine last fall.

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A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So I started my own newspaper.

Because Old Mission Gazette is a "Reader Supported Newspaper" -- meaning it exists because of your financial support -- I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks our way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the OMP. In a time when local news is becoming a thing of the past, supporting an independent community newspaper is more important now than ever.

To keep the Gazette going, click here to make a donation. Thank you so much for your support. -jb

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