/The Movie Man ready for release
Keith Stata, the founder and owner of Highlands Cinema in Kinmount, is the main focus of the upcoming documentary film, The Movie Man, which was just completed. Photo by Scott Ramsay.

The Movie Man ready for release

By Emily Stonehouse

Many have heard murmurings of the much-awaited “Movie Man” documentary coming out soon. The film, which features the beloved Highlands Cinema in Kinmount and the heart and soul behind the movies, Keith Stata, was started in 2018 by Matt Finlin of Door Knocker Media. 

“What started as a little project evolved into this entire feature film,” Finlin told the Times. With a cottage on Maple Lake, Finlin spent much of his childhood attending the Kinmount Theatre. This was the space where he fell in love with the magic of movies, prompting a lifelong passion and career. 

“Yes, it’s about the little idiosyncrasies of this little theatre, and yes, it’s about the experience of going to the movies, but what it’s really about is one man’s passion for providing this experience to others.” 

The theatre opened its doors over 40 years ago, and has offered a wacky and whimsical experience to accompany each movie-going adventure. The halls are lined with relics from years gone by; moments in time that capture the history of film, and photos and images of days gone by. It’s always recommended that viewers show up to the film early, to take in the sights, scenes, and smells of the theatre ahead of time. 

The efforts of Stata encompass the theatre as more than a singular experience; it suddenly becomes multi-dimensional and resonates with a lasting impact. 

This is what caught Finlin’s attention when he was 12 years old, setting foot for the first time in Highlands Cinema to watch Terminator 2: Judgment Day. “It’s really such a special place,” said Finlin. 

Having started in 2018, the film had some highs and lows in production, with one big question mark landing on the pandemic years, when, for the first time since opening, the theatre needed to shut its doors. 

As it turns out, this ended up being a blessing for Finlin. “During COVID, we really saw the stakes of what’s going to happen. To this theatre, and to the whole movie industry,” he said. This realization cast a shining light on the central theme to the film: the concept of time. 

“We started to really focus on how we use our time,” Finlin said, as he became acutely aware of how movie viewing became a choice, and the people who choose to see the movies, can become a part of this experience offered at Highlands Theatre. 

Finlin has been receiving praise from around the world on the film so far, with Ed Roberston, the singer from the Barenaked Ladies, loving the theatre and stepping on as the co-producer, and Martin Sheen viewing the film, and offering to present it at film festivals around the world. 

He also noted the support he received locally, highlighting how wonderful it was to work with Stata, as well as Roland Hamilton, who works at Highlands Cinema, and is “fundamental in keeping the theatre alive,” said Finlin.

While Finlin is eager to get the film in front of local eyes so that viewers recognize these familiar faces, he noted that showing the film publicly would disqualify him from international film festivals, and as an independent filmmaker, he is reliant on these festivals to get the word out. “We are aiming for it to land somewhere by the end of September,” he said, noting that the film was just completed two weeks ago. 

While locals may have to wait to see the film, they can keep up with the buzz by visiting www.moviemanfilm.com for all the updates. “I am incredibly proud of it,” said Finlin. “It’s funny, it’s touching, and it just hits on all those reasons that we love going to these movies.”