At the Hyland Cinema in Wortley Village, there’s some movie magic happening.
The single screen theatre provides a unique experience for the audience even when you walk in. The traditional popcorn making creates the token butter smell that wafts through the lobby. The entrance is decked out with new movie and classic film posters.
The theatre has one room, a style that long ago went out of fashion. The single screen creates an atmosphere that is equal parts shared with other audience members, as it is intimate knowing that one film is showing.
Victor Liorentas is the projectionist at Hyland Cinema. For 25 years he has operated the projectors at several movie theatre companies. His dedication to audience experience is only matched for his love of everything film.
Liorentas’ attention to detail covers everything: he adjusts projectors to obtain the perfect clarity for the screen; he adjusts volume levels depending on the type of movie. For him it’s in the details where the subtle feelings for a movie experience are created.
His passion outside of his work is collecting film, and that’s recently integrated into his job. “Retro Nights at the Hyland Cinema” was his pet project that took off after seeing ticket sale success. Screening cult classics on original film print draws crowds that he says his bosses were hesitant of.
“They were kind of skeptical, like, ‘What are we going to do? Yeah, we’ll keep the film projectors’. They weren’t so sure it would help us, and now it is.”
He says people come in to see their favourite movies on the big screen. Often it’s their first time seeing a movie they like in a theatre and the feelings they express make Liorentas confident in the show.
“If i’m playing a film print, of let’s say Terminator 2, I’m playing something that existed back in 1991 and was played for thousands of people. It’s the same physical copy, so it has its own little history.”
Liorentas has begun to tap into the world of film archives. The latest edition of “Retro Night” featured renowned Canadian director, David Cronenberg. Showcasing two of his earliest films was easier than Liorentas thought. Putting an order through the National Film Board of Canada, it allows for theatres and film enthusiast a chance to rent out Canadian films.
The world of film is seeing a revival in Liorentas’ eyes.
“Maybe they’re hearing the things Quentin Tarantino says, and Christopher Nolan says, and Paul Thomas Anderson says about the art and craft of real film.”
With other archives across the country and the continent available to access, Hyland Cinema has many more “Retro Nights” coming to film enthusiasts, old and new.