Indie films being shown at library

An independent spirit has taken the Ashland Public Library's August film offerings.

The Independent Film Series at the library takes place on Wednesdays in August and is sponsored by the Friends of the Ashland Public Library. The series will be showing Sundance winners, Oscar winners, Golden Globe nominees and selections from the Ashland Independent Film Festival. The series is produced and hosted by library friend, Rob Koning, who, after a five-month stint shelving books, stepped up to take over the film festival.

"The library was doing a Wednesday movie series, and I volunteered to take the series over," Koning said. "We started to show more current movies and it brought in more people."

Koning's arrival was well-timed, according to Ashland Library Manager Amy Blossom.

"He heard we were showing films and his timing was perfect," Blossom said. "The person doing it couldn't do it any more. He stepped in and changed the focus to current-run films."

Koning, who received a bachelor's degree in psychology from Kent State University in 2001, is producing the series as his gift to the Ashland community before moving on to Southern Oregon University to pursue a degree in nursing. Koning's ultimate goal is to work with Doctors Without Borders.

Obtaining many of the films to be shown has been a project for Koning, with many companies wanting as much as $500 dollars to show their film.

"The library is restricted under licensing as to what movies they can play," Koning said, "and a majority of the Indy films aren't able to be played at the library. I personally contacted many of the filmmakers to get the rights to show the films."

Koning spent a lot of time doing just that: e-mailing the filmmakers to get permission to run the films. Blossom explained how the library pays an annual fee to show movies in the library, and they had to check to see if any of the movies were on their list. In the end, the library had to pay for one film. The filmmaker's cooperation was a key element to the success of the series.

"People have been very positive and wanted to show their films in our community," Koning said. "They did donate a lot to us."

The Ashland Independent Film Festival is a part sponsor of the series, and involvement of the festival and the library is Koning's ultimate goal.

"I am going to see how I can try and bridge a better connection between the film festival and the library," He said.

Besides "C. Beck," Wednesday's session also showed the documentary "Sound of the Soul." Upcoming films include: "Kick Like a Girl," "Across the Universe," "Under the Roller Coaster," and Academy Award winner "Man on Wire." A complete listing of films and times can be found at Showtime is at 2 p.m. in the library's Gresham Room. Tickets are free and are available before the show at 1 p.m.

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