Chris Opper didn’t know what to do after high school. “I took a few years off before I went to college and then took a TV course – I thought it would be a slack off class, an easy A, but I got really into it.” Opper took the course at the University of Wisconsin – Fox Valley and soon transferred to Watkins College of Art, Design & Film in Nashville, Tenn., to study film.
Since then, the Door County resident has been creating independent films and looking for venues to show them off.
“There really aren’t a whole lot of venues to show smaller films,” says Opper. “I like going to film festivals and that’s basically what I want to create – that film fest atmosphere. This gives people like me, who make smaller films, a chance to get them shown and give them visibility.”
Opper will open North Ephraim Movie Theater, an outdoor venue, in the space between The Red Putter and Joe Jo’s Pizza and Gelato, on June 9 and feature independent films every Saturday at 9 pm throughout the season.
On opening night, Opper will premier his own independent film, Not There Yet. “It’s basically about three different characters who live in Door County and haven’t figured their lives out yet,” explains Opper. “It’s about the one thing they want to do, and the one thing that’s in their way.” Not There Yet was filmed last February, edited this past winter, and features familiar Door County faces including David Smrz, Meghan Holly, Casey Riley, Marcel Bruyere and more.
Opper discovered the other films he plans to feature at recent film festivals in Green Bay and Appleton. “I saw a lot of movies [at the festivals],” he says. “I contacted the filmmakers of the ones I liked. I hope some can come for the screening.”
Though Door County boasts another outdoor movie theater, Opper says he “doesn’t want to compete with Skyway – that’s one of the reasons we won’t show bigger budget films.” Though Opper looks forward to providing another option in North Ephraim. “It’s a great area – the Red Putter, a pizza place, the Summer Kitchen – and then people can finish the night watching a movie,” he says. “It’s a fun venue for everyone.”
The North Ephraim Movie Theater is sponsored by High Point Inn. “They put up the money for a new screen, sound system, popcorn machine and the screening fees to bring in the films,” said the very grateful Opper.
For more information about North Ephraim Movie Theater and the featured films visit northephraimmovietheater.blogspot.com.
Showing at North Ephraim Movie Theater
June 8: Not There Yet
June 15: Surviving Family
June 22: Everything and Nothing
June 29: TBA
July 6: Confessions of a Sailor
July 13: Not There Yet
July 20: Short Film Night
July 27: The Story of Luke
Aug. 3: No Showing
Aug. 10: Somewhere West
Aug. 17: Surviving Family
Aug. 24: Confessions of a Sailor
Aug. 31: Not There Yet