PSAC presents John Graves and ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’

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cover-john-graves-cmykBy Laura Moore
Special to The PREVIEW

On Monday, Nov. 3, at 7 p.m., the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts will present John Graves and Picnic at Hanging Rock.

John Graves is well known in our community, being one of our most popular entertainers and beloved community members for years. On Monday, Nov. 3, he is going to grace the stage once again and share a movie from his exciting history as an entertainer.

John worked as the manager of film programs, where he supervised for NBC shows such as “Bonanza,” “I Dream of Jeannie,” “Ironside,” “The Man from Uncle,” “Then Came Bronson,” “The Debbie Reynolds Show,” “The Monkees” and a series shot in London with Lord Lew Grade called “The Strange Report.”

In 1970, Graves moved over to become director of current programming. He was the executive in charge of the award-winning “Medical Center,” “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father,” GE Monogram documentaries and several syndicated talk shows. 1972 gave him the opportunity to become a producer. He helmed “Assignment Vienna,” with Robert Conrad, an eight-hour miniseries filmed on location in Vienna, Austria, for MGM-TV and the ABC Television Network.

In 1974, the newly formed South Australian Film Corporation hired John to be the executive producer of what would turn out to be Peter Weir’s critically acclaimed “Picnic at Hanging Rock.” The film became the corporation’s first major feature success. It went on to win the equivalent of an Australian Oscar and American film critic Roger Ebert called it “a film of haunting mystery and buried sexual hysteria” and remarked that it “employs two of the hallmarks of modern Australian films: beautiful cinematography and stories about the chasm between settlers from Europe and the mysteries of their ancient new home.”

“Picnic at Hanging Rock” currently has an approval rating of 94 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

The film relates the story of the disappearance of several schoolgirls and their teacher during a picnic at Hanging Rock on St. Valentine’s Day in 1900, and the subsequent effect it had on the local community. “Less a mystery than a journey into the mystic, as well as an inquiry into issues of class an sexual repression in Australian society, this gorgeous, disquieting film is a work of poetic horror whose secrets haunt viewers to this day.”

John Graves will welcome the audience with several stories and points of interest about the film. “They had been dying to make this film for years, the truth is that the film would never have been put together, if I hadn’t come onto the scene. Director Peter Wier was not on speaking terms with the head of the Southern Australian Film Corp. I got them to agree that I would be their middle man.”

Then the audience will enjoy a viewing of the film in the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts Black Box Theatre. Afterwards, John will answer any questions that viewers may have. The evening will be a rare and special treat to spend in the company of one of the entertainment industries greatest films and one of our most beloved film makers.

The evening is free to those who wish to join us. Seating is extremely limited and reservations can be purchased for $5 to guaranteed seat either online at www.pagosacenter.org or by calling 731-7469 for $5.