M.A.D. Studios in downtown Augusta is giving a little something back to the community this holiday season. Starting December 7 and wrapping up on December 21, they will show free holiday movie matinees on Saturday afternoons.
Each weekend will have a different theme, but one thing all the movies have in common is that they aren’t the typical Christmas specials shown on television every year, said John “Stoney” Cannon, co-owner and studio coordinator at M.A.D. Studios.
“We tried to steer clear of things that you are used to watching on TV — things that have always been on TV,” explained Cannon. “So, when we were trying to figure it out, there were so many things and the way we eliminated it was we decided not to show any of the claymation TV shows, not to show Charlie Brown, not to show the Grinch — we figured those are all holiday favorites that you sit on your couch and you watch with your family with a Christmas tree and all that — so we figured we’d just stick to movies.”
The month kicks off the first weekend with Christmas comedies.
“We’re going to show three funny films,” Cannon said. “I don’t remember the order, but we’re going to show ‘Jingle All the Way,’ with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sinbad, ‘Scrooged,’ with Bill Murray and the crazy lady from ‘Taxi’ as the angel, and ‘Elf’.”
The following weekend, December 14, they will be showing Christmas classics. The films selected for that weekend are “Miracle on 34th Street,” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Movie purists need not fret; Cannon said that they will be showing the original, black and white versions of the films.
The weekend of the 21st, Cannon said they wanted to do something special because it was the Saturday closest to Christmas.
“The last weekend, since it is the weekend closest to Christmas, we wanted something a little more — the reason behind Christmas, the reason for the season, something a little bit more spiritual,” Cannon said. “So we are going to show a movie that I believe came out in 2007, ‘The Nativity Story,’ which got all kinds of great praise [from different religious magazines], and we figured that since it got so much good praise from the religious magazines that it should be good and shouldn’t insult anybody and it should be pretty accurate.”
The second feature is a four-part series titled “Journey to Christmas.” The documentary follows five individuals who are visiting the Holy Land and decide to try to discover if there is more to Christmas than what we typically experience here.
M.A.D. Studios is an all ages, no-smoking, no-alcohol venue that is known mostly for showcasing live music, singer-songwriters and the studio’s Thursday night open-mic night is quite popular, Cannon said. Opening the venue to show free Christmas movies is their gift to the community.
“We sat down and we decided Christmas is a time of giving — this should be our community thing — our gift to the community,” Cannon said. “We have this beautiful space with plenty of room — a great place to watch films — we’ll just make it free and have people come out, meet some new people, have some new people maybe meet us and enjoy some togetherness during the Christmas holidays.”
The matinees will begin at 1 p.m. and attendees may purchase concessions there, but they don’t have to, Cannon said. “If they want to bring pizza and eat that and bring their own soda they’re more than welcome to do that, too.”
Holiday Movie Matinees
M.A.D. Studios, 307½ 11th Street (upstairs)
Saturdays, December 7-21