Phil Neufeld’s passion for showing international cinema has been reflecting off Bakersfield’s silver screens for more than 30 years.
With FLICS, Neufeld has brought a “film festival” atmosphere to the community of Bakersfield and the historic Fox Theater.
Since it was established, FLICS has raised about $70,000 through ticket sales with the funds proudly donated to the Fox Theater Foundation, Walter Stiern Library at Cal State Bakersfield, the Kern County Library Book Trust and other nonprofit groups in town.
Bakersfield’s International Cinema Society, which puts on FLICS, has been operating for more than 30 years.
“We started our journey with very little money,” Neufeld said. “But with the help and support of family and friends, we were able to make our dreams come true.”
Before making his way to the Fox Theater, Neufeld showcased many films throughout the greater Bakersfield area.
His selected foreign films have been projected on the screens of the Harvey Auditorium, Bakersfield Community Theater, Cal State Bakersfield and Bakersfield College.
“Our policy is to show films that aren’t shown in commercial theaters,” Neufeld said. “We are not interested in showing Americanized films.”
After years of success at smaller theaters in Bakersfield, Neufeld received a call from the Fox Theater with an invite to show films there.
“We weren’t prepared to go there,” Neufeld said. “But they really wanted us, so we made our move.”
The rest, as they say, is history.
Some of Neufeld’s past screenings at the Fox Theater include “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” an independent film based on renowned street artists, and “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” a Swedish film based on an international best-selling book, which brought in more than 1,100 moviegoers to the Fox.
This year, Neufeld will showcase a variety of new films aimed to entertain and inspire the audience. They include:
• “In Darkness,” a film from Poland about a Polish sewer worker who risks his own life to save a group of Jews in the Nazi-ridden town of Lvov. This film portrays the extraordinary story of life in a Nazi community, and what the men, women and children there faced every day.
• “Sound of Noise,” a Swedish film that portrays a group of musicians who terrorize their city through guerilla-style performances. This film won the “Young Critics Award” for best feature at Cannes Film Festival in 2010.
All FLICS showings start at 7:30 p.m. on select Fridays at the Fox Theater, 2001 H St. Admission is $5.
For more on FLICS, including film information, go to flics.org, or call FLICS at 428-0354.