Latest News

Laramie Film Society

[Picture of movie projector by Connor Mullen]

Promoting Cinema in Laramie, Wyoming

Je Suis Paris

Latest News and Upcoming Events
Free French films at the library this fall
LFS shows "The Goat" at Eppson Center
LFS is now officially a 501 (c)(3) organization
History of the Wyo Theatre
History of the Laramie Film Society
More About the Group
How to Join LFS
Join the LFS E-mail List!
How to Volunteer/Get Involved
Minutes of meetings
Important Documents
LFS Facebook Page

The free French film series at the county library

The Sundries of the World Film Series opens in October with a series of 10 French films at the Albany County Library. The French film series runs every Sunday from October 4 to December 6. This series of films includes a number of award winning films.

All films are shown at the Albany County Library on Sunday evenings, starting at 7 p.m. Admission is free for all these films. Free popcorn, pop and candy will be served at all these films. A film schedule with some synopses with ratings and links to reviews is below.

This series is sponsored by the Albany County Public Library and co-sponsored by the Laramie Film Society. Additional sponsors of the Laramie Film Society, supporting all of its programs, include the The Alibi Pub, Mizu Sushi restaurant, and the Turtle Rock Coffee and Cafe, all Laramie businesses.

October 4 — Amélíe[3 stars]
A gentle, whimsical, fanciful comedy that somehow doesn't seem all that far-fetched. Filled with filled with colorful, eccentric characters, it will make you wish the real world was like this movie. It is a light story filled with wonder and good humor, a real audience pleaser. It was nominated for five Academy Awards and won over 40 awards at international film competitions. Rated R, running time 122 minutes.

October 11 — A Prophet[3 stars]
This French film is a brutal prison crime drama that shows the transformation of a small-time criminal into a big-time crime boss. This is all due to the education he receives in prison. The film also shows the change in the balance of power among organized crime organizations in prison and in the rest of France. Rated R, running time 155 minutes.

October 18 — The Umbrellas of Cherbourg[3.5 stars]
GeneviŤve (Catherine Deneuve), a beautiful young Frenchwoman who works at a small-town boutique selling umbrellas, falls for dashing mechanic Guy (Nino Castelnuovo), but complications arise. Jacques Demy's 1964 masterpiece is a pop-art opera, or, to borrow the director's own description, a film in song. Winner of five French film awards. Unrated, running time two hours.

October 25 — Paris (2008)[3star.gif]
A man who may be nearing the end of his life watches people go by from a balcony in Paris. Director Cedric Klapisch conducts a symphony about this great city in which each character is a movement. Rated R, running time 130 minutes.

November 1 — The Taste of Others (2000)[3 stars]
Agnes Jaoui co-writes and directs this romantic comedy of manners, set in France's rustic Provence, about a successful businessman trying to adapt to the fast-changing times. Winner of 13 international film awards. Rated R, running time 113 minutes.

November 8 — The Triplets of Belleville (2004)[3.5 stars]
This animated comedy tells the story of a bicyclist kidnapped by gangsters, a crazy gambling scheme and an even crazier escape plan. Winner of 17 international film awards. Rated PG-13, running time 80 minutes.

November 15 — A Sunday in the Country[3 stars]
In 1912 France old traditionalist painter is visited by his family, causing him to reflect on his life. He begins to think he should have been more daring and taken more chances in life, like his daughter. Tensions arise between his daughter and his conservative son's family. Winner of 12 international film awards. Running time 94 minutes.

November 22 — Angel-A[2.5 stars]
Paris has never looked better in this tale about a woman who helps a con artist get his act together after he rescues her. Rated R, running time 91 minutes.

November 29 — The Chorus (Les Choristes)[3star.gif]
A story about a music teacher's relationship to his students, their families and his fellow faculty members. Featuring performances by Les Petits Chanteurs de Saint-Marc Choir. Winner of 12 international film awards. Rated PG-13, running time 96 minutes.

December 6 — Russian Dolls (2005)[3star.gif]
A French writer finds his life is once again being turned sideways by his footloose European friends in this sequel to the international hit L'Auberge Espagnole. Running time 129 minutes.

To be notified by e-mail of upcoming Laramie Film Society Activities, including film series schedules, subscribe to the Laramie Film Society's e-mail announcement list at!forum/laramie-film-society-announcements.

LFS shows summer films outdoors

The Laramie Film Society presented “Easy Street,” “The Goat” and “An Eastern Westerner” during Jubilee Days. The films were shown on July 10 during the Jubilee Days Street Dance on the north wall of Ken's Music Box near the intersection of Second and Grand. Thanks to the Music Box building owner for letting LFS use its wall. Thanks to the Cross Country Connection for letting us use electricity so LFS could plug in its projector.

Thanks to LFS President Gary Rutkowski and others who helped us get set up and help carry everything away afterwards. Also thanks to the Laramie Policemen who let me park my pickup nearby so I didn't have to haul the projection equipment so far. We had excellent weather this year, and as usual, got lots of compliments from passersby.

“Easy Street,” released in 1917 is one of Charlie Chaplin's early comedy classics. This 19-minute Mutual studio silent film pits the diminutive Chaplin, who plays a policeman, against a huge street thug played by Eric Campbell. Chaplin also wrote and directed this film. Chaplin creates humor from the unlikely subjects of poverty and violence in some mean city streets.

“The Goat” is a classic 1921 comedy. It is about a man (played by the legendary Buster Keaton) who is mistakenly identified as a murderer in newspapers and posters. He desperately dodges the police, and a variety of other pursuers, displaying incredible acrobatic skills and ingenuity. This film was selected by the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences as one of Keaton's two best short films (the other was “The Boat”). Keaton, a legendary movie actor, writer and director, also co-directed and scripted this film with Malcolm St. Clair. Keaton (1895-1966) was one of the true comic geniuses of film, with a brilliant career that spanned decades. His acrobatic physical style of comedy is similar to that of Charlie Chaplain, Harold Lloyd and Jackie Chan.

“The Goat”? is the first film purchased by the Laramie Film Society. “Easy Street” was purchased in the summer of 2004. In the past we have rented all of the films we have shown. By shopping around on the Internet, LFS found a source of 16 millimeter films for a reasonable price. We can buy a film for about the same amount of money it costs to rent one.

“An Eastern Westerner” is a 1920 film starring Harold Lloyd, one of the biggest stars of silent films. The print we bought in 2010 is essentially the second half of this 20-minute film (which is O.K., because it is the funnier half and we got it at half price). The first half of the film takes place in a large city, probably New York. The half of the movie we have takes place in a town in the west populated by bad guys and crooked card sharks. There is also a group of hooded riders who look a lot like the KKK, menacing people in the town. The nimble Lloyd outsmarts the bad guys and gets the girl, of course.

Laramie Film Society events are sponsored by The Alibi Pub, Mizu Sushi restaurant, and the Turtle Rock Coffee and Cafe, all Laramie businesses.

LFS screens films for seniors

The Laramie Film Society holds free silent film showings at the Eppson Centers for Seniors occasionally. One such showing was “The Goat” on August 6, 2007 at 5:30 p.m. at the Center. The showing was a big success. The audience of mostly seniors enjoyed the show. About 30 people attended the showing.

“The Goat” a 25-minute silent film starring Buster Keaton, was originally shown in downtown Laramie during the Jubilee Days Street Dance. “The Goat” is a 1921 comedy about a man (played by Buster Keaton) who is mistakenly identified as a murderer in newspapers and posters. He desperately dodges the police, and a variety of other pursuers, displaying incredible acrobatic skills and ingenuity. The LFS has also shown “Easy Street,” starring Charlie Chaplin, at the senior center. Send me an email if you want to set up a showing of either of these films or “An Eastern Westerner,“? our other silent film, starring the legendary Harold Lloyd.

Report on the 501 (c)(3) status of LFS

The IRS has determined that the Laramie Film Society is exempt from federal income tax as described in section 501 (c)(3) of the tax code. The LFS received the determination letter in mid-February.

This is a final determination. Since we have a reasonable assurance that our application was filed before the deadline, all donations to LFS dating back to September 5, 2000 should be eligible for deduction from federal income taxes. Donations are only allowable as deductions to the extent that the donations are gifts. LFS memberships and LFS t-shirts, and LFS movie ticket sales are not really eligible because people receive consideration for those purchases.

The complete IRS determination letter can be accessed by clicking on this link. This determination letter has been scanned into text, so there may be some typos. E-mail me (Robert Roten) so I can fix any typos you might spot. My e-mail address can be found on my web page Laramie Movie Scope. A copy of IRS Publication 1771 which outlines the rules for charitable donations was included with the decision letter. This short, two page document is well worth reading if you plan to donate anything to any non-profit organization. I was unable to scan this document into a text file, but I found a copy of it on the Internet (it is not available at the IRS site for some reason). A copy of Publication 1771 is included with the copy of the decision letter linked above. To read it, click on this link.

The 501 (c)(3) application for recognition of exemption (forms 1023, 8718, and 872-C) was delivered to the IRS office in Kentucky at 9 a.m. December 28, 2001, according to the UPS Internet delivery tracking system.

The delivery was three days before the deadline (the end of the 15th month from the date of incorporation). That means donations to LFS back to the date of incorporation (Sept. 5, 2000) should be tax-deductible. I have one copy of the application and I have made two others so that LFS Secretary Lynn Hamblin and Treasurer Casey Woods can keep them on file. I will also keep a copy on file. By law, a copy of the application must be kept on file for public inspection for three years.

The application uses form 872-C to “consent fixing period of limitation upon assessment of tax under section 4890 of the Internal Revenue Code.” The reason for including this form in the application is that it is required when seeking an "advance ruling" rather than a "definitive ruling" on our tax- exempt status. Rather than making an advance ruling, however, the IRS chose to make a final ruling, so that form was evidently not needed. Who knew?

History of the Laramie Film Society

The Laramie Film Society was established as a Wyoming not-for-profit corporation in September of 2000 after the Wyo closed. It held its first general meeting and appointed a Board of Directors, with well-known Laramie film critic and writer Robert Roten as Chairman. The LFS was formed both to preserve the theater and to promote the appreciation of cinema in general in Laramie. While the LFS is in no way connected to the current group managing the Wyo Theatre, the LFS is very interested in making sure the theater stays open.

January 26, 2001 was a busy day. The Wyo Theatre reopened that day (featuring “Charlie's Angels,” “Unbreakable” and “102 Dalmatians”), and the Laramie Film Society showed “All About My Mother” (Todo Sobre Mi Madre) at the Laramie Plains Civic Center that same evening. We talked this over with Randy Pryde, a partner of the company leasing the Wyo. He indicated the theater's opening was a little uncertain at that time (more on the Wyo below), so we decided to go ahead with our movie as planned. The LFS movie, the Laramie premier of “All About My Mother,” winner of the 1999 Academy Award for best foreign film, was a big success. LFS, with the help of four sponsoring organizations attracted 150 people, five times the turnout of our previous feature, “A Christmas Story.” We probably outdrew “Charlie's Angels.” LFS feels the success of this show, despite the competition from seven other movies at the Fox and Wyo, and despite the fact that our movie was already out on video, vindicates our belief that there is a strong market for high quality films in Laramie.

LFS showed “A Christmas Story” at the civic center theater on December 15. The December showing was the first featuring a sound system donated by Dr. Charles Ksir, dean of the UW College of Education. It was also the first LFS film shown at the Civic Center. The sound system worked well, being a vast improvement over our previous sound equipment, but it was generally felt there was too much “boom” in the sound reproduction. LFS technicians reduced the bass and boosted the treble for “All About My Mother.” “A Christmas Story,” also has a number of lines of dialogue spoken by Darren McGavin which are intentionally garbled to indicate he is swearing.

LFS used a rented projector (which did not work well) in its first film and a borrowed projector (which worked very well) for second film. Now LFS owns three Bell and Howell 16 millimeter projectors. Two of the higher quality projectors will be used for showing the films and the third is a backup unit in case of a projector breakdown. New, these projectors cost over $1,000, but most have been devalued because of the popularity of digital video projectors. LFS purchased two newer Bell and Howell 2585 projectors for about $80 apiece from Ebay. During the showing of “All About My Mother” a projector bulb burned out. Projectionist Casey Wood (also a board member) quickly switched projectors, using our spare, and the show went on. The only thing that slowed us down was the burned out bulb. It was so hot we had to let it cool a bit before we could replace the bulb. LFS later purchased a number of spare projector bulbs.

“Duck Soup” and “A Christmas Story” were rented from Swank Motion Pictures for about $125 apiece, not counting shipping. “Duck Soup” was shown at our first fundraising event, “Soup and Cinema,” held Dec. 3, 2000, from 4-7 p.m. at the Alice Hardie Stevens Center. “All About My Mother” cost $400 (from a different distributor) plus $40 for shipping and handling, so we found some sponsors to cover part of the costs. LFS also raised the admission price $1.50 for this film, to cover a portion of the higher costs. We also paid $50 for renting the Civic Center Theater for two hours, so our total costs for showing this film was about $500 (all labor is volunteer), versus about $200 for our first two films. We lost money on “A Christmas Story” due to a low turnout. That was partly due to the fact that “A Christmas Story” is shown a lot on television, there was a snow storm that evening, and the Laramie Daily Boomerang failed to run an advertisement for the movie that day LFS had contracted for.

Since “All About My Mother” was about three times as expensive as the previous LFS film (which we lost money on), we sought sponsors to help us offset the high cost of the film. We thank the sponsors of “All About My Mother.” Sponsors included The Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship, custodian of the Matthew Shepard Fund; La Radio Montañesa: Voz de la Gente; University of Wyoming Women's Center, and the University of Wyoming Office of Multicultural Affairs (Hispanic Programs).

The Laramie Film Society coasted along for 10 years after the Wyo Theatre reopened, promoting the annual spring and fall film series. Laramie Film Society members Robert Roten, Nancy Sindelar (who also heads of the Wyoming Peace, Justice and Earth Center) and Lynn Hamlin, started a summer film series at the Albany County Public Library in 2007, which has continued to the present. Donations from this group, and donations by attendees at the film series have helped to pay for major upgrades in the library's audio-visual systems.

The owners of the Wyo Theatre discontinued the fall film series in 2011 due to a lack of attendance. LFS offered to sell advance tickets for the next film series in an attempt to revive it. The owners (Rocky Mountain Resort Cinemas) agreed to revive the annual film series if we could sell 500 tickets in advance. LFS sold 1,300 advance tickets for the 2011 spring film series. With this kind of community support, and LFS selling advance tickets, the annual fall and spring film series have continued at the Wyo Theatre.

History of the Wyo Theatre

The Wyo Theatre was built around 1928 according to business listings in the Polk City, County and State directories from that period. The theater, at 309 S. Fifth St. in Laramie, was originally named the Crown Theater. It is one of the oldest continuously operating movie theaters in Wyoming.

J.G. Burbank, the former manager of the old Empress Theater (it was later renamed the Fox Theater) on 112 South Second Street (that building was recently demolished) was listed as the original owner of the new Crown Theater. He owned the theater for many years. In 1950, the name of the theater was changed from the Crown Theater to the Wyo Theatre , according to the web site Cinema Treasures.

When the name of the theater was changed to the Wyo, the exterior of the theater was remodeled. Architect Charles D. Strong drew up the plans for the remodel, giving the building an Art Deco look, according to Cinema Treasures.

The Burbank estate sold the theater to Carmike Cinemas, one of the largest theater chains in the country, in 1996. It was later sold to Trans-Lux Corporation. Rocky Mountain Resort Cinemas purchased the theater in 1999 and still owns the property.

The theater operated as a first-run theater for over 70 years showing new films from Hollywood. It was common practice for years in Laramie for movie theaters to show new films weeks or months after they had opened in larger cities. Film rental costs are lower after a film has been in release for a few weeks. That practice changed over time as mass marketing of movies on television made it more profitable to open movies simultaneously all over the country, including in smaller cities like Laramie.

The theater last showed first run films in 1999. The interior of the theater was remodeled that year by the Trans-Lux Corporation especially for the Laramie premiere of the blockbuster film, “?Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace.” At that time, the Laramie Boomerang reported that “The theater is now equipped with new, larger, more comfortable seats, a new Dolby® four-channel digital sound system, a brighter projector light, a new screen, new draperies and new carpeting, among other improvements. The sound system has speakers on all four sides of the auditorium, with 13 12-inch speakers behind the screen, along with some 16-inch sub-woofers for a visceral bass sound quality.”

After 1999, the Wyo became a “mid-run” theater, opening films months after those films opened in larger cities, while the competing multiplex Fox Theater in Laramie remained a first-run theater, opening films on the same day they opened in larger cities around the country. Often, the Wyo runs the same movies that had previously been shown at the Fox. The Wyo attracts families with its lower ticket and concession prices.

The Wyo also offers films not shown elsewhere in Laramie, independent, documentary, foreign and ¬?art¬? films, which are shown on Sundays during annual spring and fall film series. It also has a low-cost matinee film series for children in the summer.

Since 1989, the Wyo has shown over 450 independent, art and foreign films, such as “Billy Elliot,” “Chocolat,” “Love Actually,” “An Inconvenient Truth” and “La Vie En Rose.” These are the kinds of films that most theaters don't bother to show. Often, they are not shown because these kinds of films are not widely distributed and there is no major marketing campaign to support them.

Over the years, the theater was leased by a number of different movie theater companies, including Mann Theaters, the Commonwealth Theater Group, Carmike Cinemas, Trans-Lux Cinemas and finally Movie Palaces, Inc. and the Bijou Inc. partnership of Casper Wyoming.

The theater closed briefly in 2000 after Trans-Lux gave up its lease on the theater. Later, Movie Palaces and Bijou stopped using the theater on May 18, 2001. Rocky Mountain Resort Cinemas (RMRC) bought all the equipment purchased for the Wyo by Bijou-Movie Palaces, and assumed full management of the theater. RMRC continues to own and run the theater now.

The movie theater business model changed in the late 20th century to favor multiplex theaters over single screen theaters like the Wyo. One of the factors in the change was the end of dual projector systems, which required constant operator attention to change film reels, start and stop projectors and thread film through the projectors during the movie.

These dual projector systems were replaced by a single projector system in which all the reels of film were spliced together at the theater, then broken apart again for shipment. The complete film was wound onto a large horizontal rotating platter, about four feet in diameter. The film was drawn off the platter, run through the projector and then fed back onto the platter again. This system required little attention once the film was started. With this system, a single projectionist could run a number of movies simultaneously at a multiplex theater, resulting in reduced labor costs for projection.

With this technical innovation, multiplexes became more profitable than single-screen theaters. Multiple movies could be shown at a single location while labor costs for projection, ticket sales and concessions could be consolidated for cost savings. The old projection worker unions were broken and wages were cut to a minimum. With the advent of digital projection systems, labor costs were cut even more.

Television advertising became the preferred method for advertising films. Years ago, local theaters promoted their films with large newspaper advertisements. Now that national television advertising campaigns dominate the movie business, local newspaper advertising for movies has virtually disappeared. That means local theaters have lost any independence they once had. They usually show movies that are supported by a lot of advertising, regardless of the quality of the movie.

All these changes have left the Wyo Theatre with the biggest screen in Laramie, at over 30 feet wide. Laramie's other movie theater, the Fox, was originally a large single-screen theater, but has been remodeled over the years into a multiplex with a six smaller screens in relatively small auditoriums. The Wyo Theatre is over 6,200 square feet in size with 325 seats. It has, by far, the biggest screen and the most seating capacity for a single show in Laramie.

The Wyo Theatre also has the look of an older theater with art-deco trimmings on the outside of the building and murals of cowboys on the inside. The sidewalk in front of the theater is painted yellow and brown, the colors of the University of Wyoming sports teams. The name Wyo Theatre is shared with another theater in Wyoming. Sheridan also has a Wyo Theater. According to the web site Cinema Treasures, there once was a Wyo Theatre in Cheyenne at 1612 Carey Avenue.

Although the Wyo Theatre has a long history in Wyoming, it's future appeared to be very uncertain until this year. The owners of the Wyo Theatre, Rocky Mountain Resort Cinemas. Because of the age of the theater and its obsolete projection equipment, it was feared the theater might close. But the owners put in a digital projection system which greatly improved the picture and sound quality. Then a new, local owner, WyoLaramie LLC, stepped in to take over the theater with plans to fix up the building and make the theater better than ever.

The theater is currently closed for repair and renovation. It may reopen in early 2016. For more about the new owner's plans for the Wyo Theatre, see the Wyo Theatre's Web Site.

More About the Group

W. Dale Nelson wrote a wonderful article about the Laramie Film Society and its first organizational meeting for the Casper Star-Tribune. The article is reproduced with the author's permission here on our Web site.

Join, Donate to LFS

You can join LFS by sending $15 to the Laramie Film Society, along with a self-addressed stamped envelope to: The Laramie Film Society, 3019 Pope Springs Road, Laramie, WY, 82070. Donations to LFS can be sent to the same address. Donations are tax deductible.

Join the LFS E-Mail Lists

The best way to keep up with the group's activities is to join the LFS e-mail lists. To do this, visit!forum/laramie-film-society-announcements and sign up. This is an announcement list only. Notices will include upcoming films, polls, meetings and other LFS announcements. There is no discussion among list participants. We expect an average of less than one announcement per week. You can also view all of the messages that have already been posted to the list at this location.

We also have a discussion list. You can subscribe to the discussion list by visiting this website As with most Google features, these sites work best when you are using a Google Chrome browser. If all else fails, e-mail Robert Roten (address at bottom of page) and ask him to send you invitations to either list.

Our Mailing Address

Laramie Film Society
3019 Pope Springs Road
Laramie, WY  82070

Web space for this site provided by LARIAT, Laramie's Community Network and Internet Users' Group.
Web page design by Brett Glass. Photo of the Wyo Theater by Robert Roten (E-mail at my last name at lariat dot org)[Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]