Summit County Library uses films to add element to book club concept | ParkRecord.com

Summit County Library uses films to add element to book club concept

The Summit County Library board of directors and library director Dan Compton came up with a new twist on the book club concept four years ago.

Instead of just reading a book and talking about it, they decided to add a movie element to the experience, and dubbed it the Book to Film Club.

"We were trying to hold a community book club at the Kimball Junction Branch, because our Coalville and Kamas branches at the time were holding their own successful monthly book clubs," Compton said. "For some reason it didn't do very well. Even though we were putting a lot of effort and energy into it, we were only able to get one or two people to come every month."

So he and his staff started to think out of the box and started the Book to Film club.

“I think people are looking for some deeper discussions, civil dialogue about some things that are going on in our world...”Daniel Compton,Summit County Library director

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"We got a film license for the library, so we could screen movies, and we decided to give it a shot," Compton said. "It was a success."

The club will celebrate its 50th screening and discussion at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 11, at the Kimball Junction Branch, 1885 W. Ute Blvd.

The film will be James Franco's Golden Globe-winning "The Disaster Artist," which is based on Greg Sestero and Tom Bisell's memoir "The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside the Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made," which is rated R.

The film is about actor Sestero and his work on Tommy Wiseau's "The Room," which has gained a cult following since its release in 2003.

"'The Room' has become like the 'Rocky Horror Picture Show' where people go to the film dressed up and act out some jokes that only they understand," Compton said. "We're looking forward to screening 'The Disaster Artist' that tells the story behind the movie."

A discussion of the book will follow the free screening.

"Our branch manager Joe Frazier has partnered with me on this," Compton said. "Sometimes I don't have time to read the book, so if I don't, he will and then will be there to lead the discussions."

Compton said many of the people who attended the first Book to Film Club, which was Paul Greengrass' "Captain Phillips," starring Tom Hanks, continue to attend the screenings today.

"We have had some of the same people who come every month who have been with us from the very beginning," Compton said. "Over the years, we gain new people along the way and we've had some people move out. But we still have this core group who come to the movies."

The screenings are held in a small room next to the DMV, rather than the auditorium.

"The room can hold about 25 people and each month we get 10 to 20 people," Compton said. "While that doesn't sound like a successful program, it works for something like this, where you have a discussion afterwards. It's hard to have a discussion with 100 people."

The discussions are inspired by the books and films, and address social issues, history and current events, Compton said.

"I think people are looking for some deeper discussions, civil dialogue about some things that are going on in our world," he said. "This is a fun and safe environment to do this. We get some great perspectives from people who have lived out of the country who bring unique perspectives to the table. That's what I really enjoy about this."

One of the challenges of maintaining the Books to Film Club is finding quality books and movies.

"We schedule each film three months out so people have time to read the books," Compton said. "Sometimes it's hard to find books and films that have both received good reviews. Usually you will find one or the other, but not both. So to get a book that people want to read and a movie that people want to is challenging, but I feel we've been successful."

Once a film is scheduled, the library purchases books so people can check them out to read.

"That way they don't have to go out and buy the books unless they want to," Compton said.

The library director also said he wants to be sure the books and films have substance to them.

"There are plenty of great popcorn films that are entertaining, but they don't provide issues that can inspire deep conversations," he said. "I feel like we've done a pretty good job over the years."

May's film will be Stephen Chbosky's Academy Award-nominated "Wonder," rated PG, which is based on the New York Times bestseller by R.J. Palacio.

The story follows a boy who was born with a facial deformity.

June's film will be Guillermo del Toro's "The Shape of Water," rated R. This film is based on the book by Daniel Kraus.

The story is about a hearing-impaired woman who befriends a humanoid sea creature.

"I haven't had the chance to read 'The Shape of Water' yet," Compton said. "So I'm looking forward to it."

The Book to Film Club will meet, watch and discuss James Franco’s “The Disaster Artist,” rated R, at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 11, at the Summit County Library Kimball Junction Branch, 1885 W. Ute Blvd. The event is free and open to the public. For information, visit http://www.thesummitcountylibrary.org.