By Tanya Ishikawa

MONTROSE–“Dope” was sold in one of the biggest deals of its kind in January, after a bidding war in Utah. The sale took place at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, and Dope is a little independent film, produced on a $700,000 budget by Academy Award-winning actor Forest Whitaker and executive produced by Grammy Award-winning music icons Pharrell Williams and Sean Combs.

The film, purchased by Open Road Films and Sony Pictures for a reported $7 million plus a promise of at least $15 million in marketing, won the U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Excellence in Editing at Sundance and was selected to close the Directors’ Fortnight section at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival in May. Released in North America on June 19, Dope had earned nearly $16.8 million in theaters as of Sept. 1, according to, an online box-office reporting service owned and operated by online movie database.

“Dope was such a critical hit and audience favorite at the Sundance Film Festival, we thought our audience would like to see it. A film widely described as smart, funny, stylish and one of the freshest releases of 2015 — that gets our attention,” said Kay Lair, president of Second Sunday Cinema, an all-volunteer nonprofit that brings films to the Fox Theater in Montrose once a month. “This film sounds like it has enough going for it that it will appeal to all ages. Plus, we like to bring films that open us up to other cultures and experiences.”

The film’s official website describes it as: “A coming of age, crime comedy/drama for the post hip hop generation.” The central character is Malcolm, who is a geek, carefully surviving life in a tough neighborhood filled gangsters and drugs dealers in Inglewood, California. Juggling responsibilities during his senior year of high school, he dreams of attending Harvard when “a chance invitation to a big underground party leads him and his friends into a gritty adventure filled with offbeat characters and bad choices.”

The film is written and directed by Nigerian-American Rick Famuyiwa, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated with a double major in film studies from the University of Southern California. The cast includes rapper/singer/actor/dancer Shameik Moore, Tony Revolori who is best known for playing the role of Zero Moustafa in “The Grand Budapest Hotel,”  film and television actress Kimberly Elise, and singer/actress Zoë Kravitz who is the daughter of Lennie Kravitz and Lisa Bonet.

Though Dope has turned out to be a popular film with mainstream audiences and distributors decided to re-release it on Sept. 4, the Second Sunday film series tends not to include blockbuster films with wide appeal. “These are usually the smaller, more artistic, independent or foreign films that those of us who live on the Western Slope might not get to see on the big screen otherwise,” explained Lair, who is an architectural photographer living in Ridgway.

She and the nonprofit’s vice president Linda Munson Haley have been selecting and brinGing films to local audiences for 18 years. Munson Haley lives in Montrose, and is the recently retired, former clerk to the Ouray County Commissioners.

Describing the Second Sunday audiences, Lair said they are mostly from Montrose, Ridgway and Ouray, “a pretty like-minded crowd, and all film lovers. Many are regulars – loyal patrons for years. So if they don’t actually know each other, they feel like they do.”

As of this article’s deadline, the films for October and November had not been selected yet, but Lair revealed they were considering “The Wolfpack”, which won the 2015 U.S. Grand Jury Prize for a Documentary at Sundance and is about six teenage brothers who grew up in a Manhattan housing project, and “Mr. Holmes” starring Ian McKellan as an aging Sherlock Holmes.


See Dope at the Fox

Sunday, Sept. 13, 12 noon. Fox Theater, 27 S. Cascade, Montrose. $7 a seat. 103 minutes. Rate R.


Other Movies Showing Locally This Week

A Walk in the Woods” at the Fox Theater

In this comedy adventure, a celebrated travel writer played by Robert Redford instead of retiring to enjoy his loving and beautiful wife (Emma Thompson), challenges himself to hike the Appalachian Trail. The peace and tranquility he hopes to find is anything but, once he agrees to being accompanied by his long lost friend played by Nick Nolte, a down-on-his-luck serial philanderer who sees the trip as a way to sneak out of paying some debts and sneak into one last adventure before its too late. With a hilarious cameo by Nick Offerman of “Parks & Recreation” fame as REI Dave.

Also at the Fox through Thursday: ”No Escape” and “The Gift”

And at the San Juan Cinema through Thursday: “The Transporter Refueled”, “Inside Out” and “Straight Outta Compton”

Tickets: $6.50 for children and seniors and $9 for adults with special matinee and 3D movie prices (all tickets for Inside Out this week for $4)


Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine”

It only takes one person to start a revolution. The extraordinary story of Steve Jobs, the original innovator and ground-breaking entrepreneur who let nothing stand in the way of greatness. The film tells the epic and turbulent story of Jobs as he blazed a trail that changed technology –and the world-forever.

Wednesday, Sept. 9, Show at 7 p.m.; doors open at 6:30 p.m. Wright Opera House, 472 Main St., Ouray. Tickets: $7 per adult. Approx. 2 hours. Rated R.