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Second Saturday Cinema: The Hidden Gem

PLATTSBURGH - Second Saturday Cinema is entertainment not everyone knows about. However, Eddie Suarez, who oversees the monthly movie show at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship church on Palmer Street, wants that to change.

Second Saturday Cinema, now in its second year, stemmed from the church's board of directors purchasing a high-definition projector for a stage show its Sunday school was performing. The idea of starting an informal movie club came about and grew from there, said Suarez.

"We acquired a special license offered to houses of worship that's allowed us to have public showings of motion pictures from many major motion picture studios," said Suarez, who added the church received surround sound equipment from Alpha Stereo.

The only catch, said Suarez, is that the church isn't allowed to publicly announce the name of the film when advertising its showings. That, in part, is what Suarez believes has kept more people from coming to the church for an evening of cinema.

"It definitely hurts us," said Suarez. "Some people just say, 'Oh, just put [the name of the film] in the paper.' But, we take our licensing agreement very seriously and federal copyright law very seriously."

There are instances, however, when Suarez has been able to announce the name of a film. In January, when the church showed "Rethink Afghanistan," Suarez said he was able to freely promote the documentary about the ongoing war in Afghanistan,

"When we showed that, we didn't obtain the rights through our licensing agreement," he said. "We obtained the rights directly from the distributor. So, we were allowed to mention the title."

Suarez said he understands the fact the movies are shown in a church may deter some, though he noted Second Saturday Cinema is a nondenominational event.

"We just wanted to offer an event free of charge, allowing members of what is sometimes a culturally-underserved community, access to certain films. It's a community service for us," said Suarez. "If people want to ask questions about the fellowship itself or what our missions are, we'd be happy to tell them, but it's a community event."

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