by Ashleigh Beaudoinnews@langleyadvance.com
A lifelong interest in film and the arts has become a calling for a Fort Langley resident, Dennis Degroot, who is one of the creators of Shot in the Dark – Langley Film Nights.
In 1999, Degroot, his wife, Jenny, and their friends, Esther Thompson and Adam Lossing, joined together to create Shot in the Dark.
“We’ve forever been interested in great films, and the mainstream films don’t always fit our tastes,” said 61-year-old Degroot.
“There are some great films out there, that are being made but are not always being shown.”
Starting with the showing of a few foreign language, internationally, and locally made films a year in small locations, the group has grown significantly. They’ve since run more than 200 films and for the past eight years the shows have been running at the Colossus theatre in Langley.
The group is linked to the Toronto Film Circuit, which originated in 30 small towns around Ontario, sharing films from town to town, sent by Greyhound bus, Degroot explained.
Today, the system is the same. The films are sent from group to group, town to town, but there are now 170 groups across Canada like Shot in the Dark.
Eighteen years after it was started, Shot in the Dark is running strong, according to Degroot, showing 15 movies per season.
But choosing the movies is not easy, he explained.
“There are eight of us on the organizing committee, we get together to make the selection… and sometimes it really is a shot in the dark,” he said.
The audience has become a sea of familiar faces for Degroot, with some groups of regulars who have been attending since the beginning.
“They meet before, have dinners, and always stay to discuss the film afterwards… they can count on that.”
It is a non-profit organization, so any money made goes back into the community.
“We regularly donate to the local food bank, and last year we partnered with the Langley School Board to donate to the school’s film programs,” Degroot said.
The organization also likes to showcase local artists, actors, and filmmakers.
Last year, they honoured local young actor Jacob Tremblay, best known for his role as Jack in the 2015 film Room. Tremblay joined attendees for a Q & A after the film.
They are still on the lookout for this year’s local talent, Degroot said.
“We’re looking for people who make or have made films, we’re trying to build an audience,” Degroot said.
What he enjoys most is the chance to bring unique films to the local community.
“It’s a cool thing to know that you’re serving a need in Langley.”
This year, the film he’s looking forward to most is Manchester by the Sea.
“What stood out for me is that all the characters are human and real… and they did such a great job of just a real, painful human drama,” he said.
The winter and spring season of the Shot in the Dark – Langley Film Nights starts on Wednesday, Jan. 18 with a showing of Our Little Sister. Tickets are $10 at the door. Passes are also available a Wendel’s Bookstore & Cafe in Fort Langley.