Admit it: We've all been watching a lot of television and movies these days. As we sort through lists of recommendations, we have a local one coming out Friday with Flix at Home.
Ally Lara, assistant theater manager at the Fox Theater, said the idea came about when she received the movie list from the Flix board for what would have been the foreign-language film series's third season.
"The theater hasn’t held an event with an audience since March, so our third annual Flix wouldn’t be happening, but that didn’t mean we had to stop the recommendations," Lara wrote in an email. "I thought this would be a nice way to keep in touch with our Flix patrons."
In 2018, Flix took over for the FLICS series, which ran for 36 years until its founder retired out of state. The film series continued with movies and programming arranged by the Flix board, consisting of members Woody White, Georgia Bailey and Susan Sainte-Marie. Seasons are divided into two sections, the first in the fall and the second resuming in January after the holidays.
Bailey said when it became apparent that the pandemic would prevent a new season at the theater, the board got creative.
“We were in lockdown and sharing entertainment we enjoyed with our friends, both films and streaming series," Bailey wrote in an email. "We had already made a list of films we thought our patrons would like and where most of them were streaming.
"We thought all were good ... some were a little long if you had to drive to a theater, but at home they could be watched anytime."
The first Flix at Home newsletter goes out on Friday to subscribers on the theater's newsletter list. (Sign up at thebakersfieldfox.com.)
First off is "Bacurau," a 2019 Brazilian film in English and Portuguese that can be described as a modern Western with some twists.
“It is a ‘lush, masterful drama’ according to one critic, and won a major prize at the Cannes Film Festival," Sainte-Marie wrote in an email.
Sent out biweekly, newsletters will offer a short synopsis of that week's film, its Rotten Tomatoes score, language, country of origin and run time. But as with past seasons, the Flix team wants to keep a bit of mystery for viewers.
"We don’t want people to know too much about the film beforehand and hope they won’t spoil it for themselves by Googling the plot," Lara wrote.
The newsletter will provide a trailer link (when available) and list prices and links to streaming platforms that have the film available for rental.
Lara said most of the films will be available through Amazon Prime Video, but other streaming sources will be listed for people to look at competitive rental prices. Viewers can check out Hulu and Netflix with trial subscriptions and some services offer a student discount, Lara said.
The Flix board and Fox team all look forward to being able to gather once again when it is safe to do so.
White wrote in an email, “Flix is still around and trying to be of service to our patrons, until we all meet again at the Fox!”
Flix at Home is just one of the ways the theater is still connecting with the community. The Marquee Inspired program is in full swing with people paying to share fun and inspiring messages on the Fox's sign facing out on H Street.
"It’s been a great way to connect with our community!" Lara wrote. "Most of them are personal anniversary or birthday celebrations but lately we’ve seen a lot of messages supporting and promoting small businesses, which we’re always glad to do. We’ve had a great time displaying the messages and getting to know people in the process."
The Fox is also continuing its "Live Stream Vaccine: The Entertainment Cure," a weekly concert series presented by Visit Bakersfield through the 23ABC app or through 23ABC’s Facebook page. Concerts, which started Aug. 21, are free to view, and past performances are available on the Fox's website.
Viewers can tip bands, which volunteer their time, through apps such as CashApp, Venmo or PayPal, with usernames shared on the livestream in the description of the events on the Fox website.
Donations can also be made to the Fox Theater during the Friday shows at thebakersfieldfox.com.