Lights, Camera, Jacksonville 

Sun-Ray Cinema Debuts Inaugural Sleeping Giant Fest



JACKSONVILLE, FL (FEBRUARY 9, 2017) — Over the last five years, Sun-Ray Cinema has diligently carved out a unique space for adventurous film programming while also reinventing how audiences enjoy blockbuster fare in Northeast Florida. Building on the successes we’ve seen at Sun-Ray we thought it was about time to present a concentrated version of the distinctive films and events we provide year round, thus Sleeping Giant Fest is born.


From March 30 – April 2 Sleeping Giant Fest promises to open your eyes and perk your ears to work that often gets lost in the digital streams that dominate our viewing habits today. Throughout the year intriguing and provocative films with limited releases often get overlooked while others don’t even make it off the festival circuit. We aim to help you navigate an array of choices that often seems dizzying so you can immerse yourself in these so-called “less commercial” films, repertory titles, and screenings with exciting special guests while enjoying the communal experience that the cinema provides.


With forty film and music events over four lively days, the 2017 lineup includes filmmaker John Waters giving his film SERIAL MOM “The Talkies” treatment, providing live commentary over a screening of the film, avant-garde ensemble Xiu Xiu playing the music of Twin Peaks, Chicago band Roommate, providing a live score to Lon Chaney’s compelling performance in the horror classic THE UNKNOWN (produced the very same year as the building in which it will screen opened), and a screening of “Ramen Western”  TAMPOPO with a special noodle menu inspired by the film


We are also delighted to feature a rare exhibition of Ghanaian movie poster art thanks to a partnership with Deadly Prey Gallery in Chicago. When rural West African villagers in the 80’s and 90’s wanted to watch a movie they’d visit a “video club” – a generator powered, outdoor A/V rig that featured the latest Bollywood, Nollywood, and Hollywood hits on VHS. Without access to commercial printers entrepreneurs promoted upcoming screenings with hand-painted posters that more often than not presented a bizarre take on the movie being advertised (given that the local artist commissioned typically hadn’t seen the film). As more “video clubs” popped up, competition for moviegoers heightened as did the intensity of sex and violence (and surrealism) reflected in these posters. Ghanaian movie poster art was an inspiration for the theme for Sleeping Giant Fest 2017, and we will highlight these original works of cinema infused with outsider art at all festival venues.



In 2011 Tim and Shana, in a fit of movie exhibition delusion, packed their bags for the journey from Minnesota to Florida to open Sun-Ray Cinema in what was once a single screen movie house, one of the city’s first (with air conditioning!) in 1927 but long abandoned for shmaltzy suburban multiplexes.  Tim had built a decades long career in programming and exhibition, and it was originally in Jacksonville that he met Shana, a New York transplant with penchants for vegan cooking and arts administration.  Together they designed a menu, including house made grub and draft beer, specific to the seat side service for which their theatre became known along with thoughtful film programming, by moviegoers who slowly but surely changed their habits. A year in that growth became exponential with the addition of a second screen –while claims that the death of movie-going is around the corner Sun-Ray seems to be proving otherwise in the most unlikely of cities.