The long-running weekly show - which screened uncut double features accompanied by in-depth interviews with filmmakers and critics - is being brought to an end as the public broadcaster trims $2 million from its operating budget. (Also wrapping up are Allan Gregg In Conversation and the Big Ideas lecture series.)
I won't pretend to be objective about this. Saturday Night At The Movies was a beacon for me as a kid, screening hard-to-find features and offering detailed context courtesy of Elwy Yost's obsessive, enthusiastic interviews. And in recent years, producer and current host Thom Ernst has imbued the show with new relevance, curating intriguing evenings of independent and foreign cinema. (Full disclosure: Thom's a friend, and he's booked me on a couple of episodes of The Interviews.)
Reaction on Twitter today was appropriately horrified: Ryan Bruce Levy, who operates Vagrant Films, quickly launched an online petition begging TVO CEO Lisa de Wilde to reconsider its decision. And as long as the show's on the air, I'd like to believe there's hope - hope that TVO will reconsider and keep a keystone of its broadcasting legacy alive ... and, failing that, hope that Thom can find a new home for his thoughtful, engaging show.
I think Uncle Elwy would want us to be optimistic, you know?