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Local filmmaker starts film series at Studio Two Three.

click to enlarge "It's a Wonderful Life," Dec. 6.

"It's a Wonderful Life," Dec. 6.

Filmmaker James Matisse wanted a place to see films that weren't playing anywhere else in Richmond. And he wanted to see them in an art gallery. So he approached Ashley Hawkins, executive director of Studio Two Three, Richmond's nonprofit community print shop.

"Ashley's been super-generous with her space and her time," Matisse says. "She suggested tying the series to whatever show was on the walls." So they started with "Females and the Frame," featuring short films from woman to tie into the all-girls' Bump It Mafia show, a collective of female printmakers. That was last March. Matisse, with assistance from Virginia Commonwealth University film professor Dana Ollestad, has been scheduling events ever since.

For shows such as "Emerging Filmmakers" in May, he took international submissions for short-form films and videos. "I wanted to make it cheap and easy to submit," he says, "so I only charged $5 for submissions and curated it myself. We made enough money during the spring series to purchase a new digital projector and a sound system."

For Halloween eve, he screened "Night of the Living Dead" in 16 mm, beginning at 10 p.m. so the screening would end at midnight. He plans to show a 16 mm print of "It's a Wonderful Life" in December to coincide with Studio Two Three's holiday print exhibition. The series is donation-based and sells beer for chump change during screenings.

Looking to 2014, Matisse hopes to have planted a seed. "I want other people to start film series as well. There's a wild lack of places to see hard-to-reach films and I'd like to see that change and expand. I'd be excited if there were multiple places a week where people could catch screenings around town."

Studio Two Three's monthly film and video series will show Frank Capra's Christmas classic, "It's a Wonderful Life." It screens Dec. 6 on 16 mm in conjunction with Studio Two Three's holiday print exhibition. Find information by calling 254-7302 or visiting studiotwothree.com.

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