Jason Miller is the program director at Central Cinema.
Through projects like BadMovieArt, you’ve established yourself as a very knowledgeable cinephile. What are the origins of your deep interest in cinema?
I believe the origins can be traced back to the mom and pop video store called Movieworld that I worked at in my hometown in Mississippi. I worked there from 7th grade to the first year of college, and if it was on VHS they had it. One summer I decided to watch everything in the store, and it was then that I discovered my love for films, like Dog Day Afternoon and Chopping Mall. I can watch a movie over and over and over and not get bored with it. Sometimes back to back. My parents bought me my very own VCR for Christmas one year and two movies, Raising Arizona and Labyrinth, which both met a tragic death. Raising Arizona‘s tape snapped from too much rewinding and fast forwarding. Labyrinth went with my sister to a slumber party and it never returned.
How did you get involved with Central Cinema?
I was doing BadMovieArt at the lovely JewelBox Theater in Belltown, and Lindy West did an article on the screening I was doing of the ’90s Sharon Stone thriller, Sliver for The Stranger. That really opened it up. Clinton McClung who was the programmer at Central Cinema at the time, came to a screening of Space Mutiny the following month which led to a big nerdy conversation about movies and life in general. He was looking for an assistant, and I loved the vibe at Central Cinema and jumped at the chance to be part of it. When he moved over to SIFF, I took over the programming at Central Cinema.
In what ways does your passion for film and personal taste figure into the responsibilities of your job?
I tend to treat Central Cinema like an expanded version of my living room. I look at it with those eyes. What movies would a group of my friends gather to watch? And I just went from there. I definitely lean more toward mid ’80s to late ’90s movies, but it is has been great to showcase some of my favorite films like Grey Gardens and Do The Right Thing. I try to see as many films as possible with the audience, and I love meeting people who love the movies we are showing. It is great to hear what they enjoy about it and their experiences with the film back in the day and how it still means so much to them. The Central Cinema crowd is very diverse and very smart, but like to have good time! My kind of people.
What was the most riled up/involved audience you’ve ever witnessed at the theater?
As far a on the ground jaw dropping, I must say it was the Totally ’80s Sing Along this past summer. The Sing Along crowds are by far the most fun and the most willing to go on the ride with you, but that ’80s Sing Along was off the charts. Everyone was dressed up and by the end everyone was on their feet walking on sunshine. I was completely speechless at the level of energy that crowd brought. I try to capture it every time now. It truly set the standard for the Sing Alongs and the people that come to them are game.
What has been your all-time favorite movie-going experience?
On a personal level, it would have to be the first BadMovieArt screening at Central Cinema. The film was Roller Boogie and it is the mother lode of BadMovieArt. It was a sold-out show, and I foolishly thought it would be funny to wear short shorts and roller skates in January. It was a great feeling to hear people cheering Jim Bray and Linda Blair on as they skated around the screen. If you want to get REALLY personal though, I would have to say Friday June 10, 1984, the night Gremlins opened. Everything before that I don’t remember.