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First Friday Film Screenings resumes July 5th

The Epworth First Friday Film Series has a new curator – Berkeley neighbor Frank Sarmir. Following in the footsteps of Pastoral Intern, Bill Miller, Frank is eager to share his love of film and its ability to connect with us on many levels – spiritual, emotional, social and political. The next film, First Reformed, by the renowned director Paul Schrader, will be presented on Friday, July 5 at 11:30am in Fellowship Hall. A light lunch and beverages will be provided - feel free to stay for discussion after the film. Contact Susan Jardin at for more info.

More about Frank:

Frank Sarmir is a recently-retired IT consultant who has lived in North Berkeley since 2011 with his wife, Catherine, in the lovely house she grew up in. He has been a film buff (or more pretentiously, a cinephile) since the 1970’s and recalls seeing “The Tin Drum” at the Cleveland Film Festival and “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at the Coventry Theater. As a graduate student at Kent State University, studying and student teaching were paired with regular attendance at the weekly film series which broadened his exposure to foreign films and an appreciation of such masters as Truffaut, Bergman, and Kurosawa. When living in the Boston area during the 1980s, Frank made frequent trips to the Coolidge Corner Moviehouse in Brookline and the Brattle Theater in Cambridge to take advantage of diverse repertory programming, when you could see two interesting films for the price of one! (Oh those bygone days.) He remembers watching “On The Edge” starring Bruce Dern at a Boston film festival long before he knew about the Dipsea Race, and previewing a rough cut of John Sayles, “Eight Men Out” with the director sitting in the same aisle.

After Frank moved to San Francisco in the early 1990s, he took advantage of attending many of the free-standing movie theaters in the city, many of which, alas, are now extinct, such as the Red Vic in the Haight where he sat on a frayed couch watching the likes of the surreal “The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.”, with a screenplay by Dr. Seuss. After he and Catherine bought a house in Santa Rosa, they made annual weekend trips to the Mill Valley Film Festival, and since living in Berkeley have taken advantage of the proximity of the Pacific Film Archives (the 50th anniversary showing of “2001: A Space Odyssey”!), and such events as the Silent Film and Film Noir festivals at the majestic Castro Theater. Although none of these movies has matched the overwhelming sensory experience of seeing Abel Gance’s silent film, “Napoleon”, at the Paramount Theater in Oakland, with a live orchestra performing throughout its 5 hours before an audience of thousands.

Frank is looking forward to selecting movies for the monthly First Friday Film Series at Epworth and to continue the fine programming started by Bill Miller. He hopes to use his experience with and knowledge of cinema to pick movies that are both entertaining and challenging for a sophisticated audience. And he’d like to choose a diverse selection of films from different genres, time periods, and countries which can lead to a discussion of themes that are relevant to our contemporary social, cultural, and political era (not to be too high-falutin!).

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