It hasn’t been a secret, best-kept or otherwise, for a year or more, but Durango’s free Community Cinema film series will conclude Wednesday amid mild fanfare.
The season finale, “Love Free or Die,” coincides with the fourth annual Four Corners Pride Festival. The PBS Independent Lens selection is the story of Gene Robinson, who in 2003 became the first openly gay person to be elected bishop in the high church traditions of Christendom.
The Anglican Communion is led by about 800 bishops. Robinson, the bishop of New Hampshire, is the only openly gay bishop ever to be consecrated since the time of Christ. The Anglican Communion, like the Catholic Church from which it emerged, believes that its bishops are the direct spiritual descendants of the twelve disciples of Christ. Robinson wore a bulletproof vest to his installation and, every day since, the local police have driven by his rural New Hampshire home to provide him protection in the face of a steady stream of death threats.
Durango Community Cinema is a partnership with PBS that provides free cinematic screenings of the programs aired on the Independent Lens television series. Bliss Bruen brought the program to Durango in 2010 with a screening of “Wallace Stegner: A Documentary” and has handed the coordinator duties off to Suzanne Tyrpak at the Durango Discovery Museum, which hosts the free screenings on occasional Wednesdays. “Love Free or Die” will be the 28th movie in the series.
“As a huge fan of PBS, my goal was to create something tangible and concrete in Southwest Colorado around the amazing programming Rocky Mountain PBS offers,” Bruen said. “Having Suzanne Tyrpak come forward this spring for the Durango Discovery Museum means I have no fears about the program continuing, even more robustly than in the past. She’s a very creative and determined individual and it is an honor to have her offer to assume the job.”
The museum added a new projector and sound system and can seat 150 viewers for each screening.
“I am so happy I never walked away saying ‘this is too hard’ or ‘I am too inept an organizer of volunteers,’” Bruen said. “I believed that we could eventually embed this and finally with some key players in place, it’s getting almost institutionalized.”
The Community Cinema/Independent Lens series runs for 10 months and will resume in September, but Tyrpak plans to hold two special film events in July and August to fill in the gap.