‘Let Your Geek Flag Fly:’ Geek Week Takes Over Athena Cinema May 6-11< < Back to
May 6 through May 11 will mark the very first Geek Week at the Athena Cinema, featuring screenings of some beloved geek culture films. The weeklong screening series is a fundraiser for ARTS/West, a lead up event for Southeast Ohio’s premiere pop culture convention, Ratha Con (which takes place Saturday, May 12 at the Athens Community Center,), and a general celebration of communal film consumption. The selected films for the inaugural edition of the event are The Iron Giant (1999), Aliens (1986), Princess Mononoke (1999), The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Dark Knight (2008), and Mad Max: Fury Road (2015).
“I grew up in the ‘90s, and the term ‘geek’ used to be a slur – it used to be a negative thing to be called a geek,” said Dr. Gordon Briggs, a local film expert and self-proclaimed ‘geeksource’ for the Geek Week committee. “Now I think that geek culture is synonymous with pop culture. If you are called a ‘geek’ it is because you are really intelligent about a specific branch of pop culture. Geek Week is about celebrating geekdom, it’s about letting your geek flag fly for a good cause.”
“To me, being a ‘geek’ is being an outsider, and I think Athens is a place that embraces that a little bit,” said Emily Beveridge, the program director at ARTS/West and the catalyst for Geek Week. “One of my friends once said that ‘Athens is the place where all the lost left socks of the world wind up,’ and there is something inherently geeky about that – about feeling different or unaccepted or being passionate about something to the point that other people don’t understand. I think this town celebrates geeks, outsiders, more than other towns do.”
Brandon Thompson, who is responsible for organizing Brew Week and the Halloween Block Party in uptown Athens, is also a member of the Geek Week committee. Thompson said that he has been itching to put on a movie series like Geek Week for many years.
“There is something special about going and seeing certain movies in a theater with other people,” said Thompson, who recalled watching 1984’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in a theater thanks to the Ohio University Program Council. “The movie came out when I was like eight years old, so I never had the opportunity to see it in a theater, although I had watched it countless times on HBO. I thought that it was such a cool concept, I’ve wanted to rent out a movie theater and pick out a movie to be screened there for a long time. Nothing had ever worked out until I was meeting with Emily (Beveridge) about an event I was having at ARTS/West and we started talking about Game of Thrones and dragons, and we ended up getting into Lord of the Rings. It’s just such an experience to see these movies in a theater, these movies that mean so much to so many people in that they inform their identities and inform an entire culture around them. I’m excited to provide an opportunity for people to see these movies again for the first time.”
Beveridge said she hopes Geek Week fuels hype for Ratha Con as well as serves as something entertaining and meaningful for Athens residents to do on the first full week of summer session.
“I had been interested in pursuing something that would promote Ratha Con for a while. It was an ARTS/West event for so many years but now it’s a separate organization, although ARTS/West is still a partner and supporter of the event. Brandon (Thompson) was meeting with me about something unrelated when we came up with the idea of a series of film screenings that would lead up to Ratha Con,” said Beveridge. “It seemed like a natural fit. All of us (Briggs, Thompson, Beveridge) feel like a counsel of geeks, we are all about the same age and we have some really fond memories of some of these movies. The movies we selected are all best experienced in a group setting on the big screen. They all elicit strong reactions and are very well received. These are the kinds of movies that people start to form their identities around and celebrate in a way that they just don’t for just any movie.”
“To me, being a ‘geek’ is being an outsider, and I think Athens is a place that embraces that a little bit.One of my friends once said that ‘Athens is the place where all the lost left socks of the world wind up,’ and there is something inherently geeky about that – about feeling different or unaccepted or being passionate about something to the point that other people don’t understand. I think this town celebrates geeks, outsiders, more than other towns do.” – Emily Beveridge, program director at ARTS/West
Beveridge said choosing the movies for the series as a committee was the most enjoyable part of planning the weeklong event.
“Right away we knew we wanted to include several subgenres of geekdom, and we kind of went with some subgenres: high fantasy, anime, a children’s movie, a superhero movie and went from there, picking our favorites. I think that for the most part we actually got all the movies we wanted most,” she said. “I have been thinking about why Geek Week is culturally relevant, and I think that sometimes people get bogged down in what they deem to be the ‘artistic relevance’ of a film. It is difficult to create any piece of art, be it a movie or a painting or whatever, that speaks to a wide swath of people. I think that all these movies do that, and that is why they are so important.”