Architecture documentaries shown for free downtown


Max McCurdy

The Burlington City Arts Center on Church Street. The center will host a free reception to celebrate the opening of the winter exhibitions on Jan. 19 at 6 p.m.

Cameron Ayles, Staff Writer

Locals seeking documentary films, creative inspiration and a warm sense of community can find it right on Church Street.

The “Architecture and Design Film Series” hosts free screenings of documentary films about art, design and broader-sweeping notions of creativity and beauty.

Screenings take place once a month in Contois Auditorium at Burlington City Hall, typically falling on Wednesday nights in the middle of the month through April 2018.

The film series was established five years ago and according to its founders continues to gain interest among the community.

Many films fall into the broader web of creativity and beauty, touching on subjects like fashion, photography and gardening.

Among the list of films for the current season, only one, which is the upcoming film on neo-futuristic architect Eero Saarinen on Nov. 15, focuses on architecture.

“Our top priority is to share beautiful, engaging and interesting films with our community,” Chardain said.

The process of selecting the films, however, can be a bit tedious, as dozens of films are vetted and then woven into a line up, he said.

There is a focus on community in the selection process.

Films with local connections are preferred, Chardain said.

“Knowing that there are local connections to Saarinen” made choosing the upcoming film a ‘no brainer,’” he said. “Each of the three guests has a unique perspective on their relationship to this film and to Saarinen.”

Devin Colman, an architectural historian, will speak at the screening about several architects who came to Vermont after working with Saarinen.

The list of architects includes Bob Burley, the designer in charge of the St. Louis Arch and Eric Saarinen, Eero’s son and the director of photography/co-producer of the film.

Chardain mentioned the potential for the event “to bring people together, socialize, learn and get inspired.”

Each of the three co-founders come from different backgrounds: Karen Frost is a local business owner; Andrew Chardain, a designer, project manager at Birdseye in Richmond; and Lynda McIntyre, a UVM emeritus professor of studio art.

It took them nearly a year to cement their vision for the film series, said Karen Frost.
Acknowledging that the name “Architecture and Design Film Series” fails to do the series justice, Frost said.

“We strived to come up with a different name, but we couldn’t arrive at something we were satisfied with,” she said. “It’s really about creativity in all its forms.”

The film series engages, provokes and inspires the community by exploring the impact and importance of design and beauty in our lives, according to its website.

“From the beginning we wanted it to build community, inspire people,” Frost said. “We love the opportunity for people to spark and connect with each other.”

“It is something that feeds your soul.” Karen Frost said, in talking about documentary film.
In an effort to feed the soul, season five of the “Architecture and Design Film Series” continues Nov. 15 with the film Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future.

For more information regarding the “Architecture and Design Film Series,” visit their website. Detailed descriptions about films and guest speakers from past and upcoming film screenings can provide a sense of what films and topics to expect.