Cinema Sundays makes its return

MeJo Liao

Cinema Sundays are returning to the school after a hiatus following the passing of their previous host, former Performing Arts Teacher Ted Walch. The events invite community members to watch films and engage in a discussion afterward.

Cinema Studies Teacher Max Baril ’06, who will be hosting the new series of Cinema Sundays, said the screenings help unite the community.

“Cinema Sundays is, and Mr. Walch was very aware of this, a unique way for an opportunity to experience the communal experience of watching movies together,” Baril said. “The movie industry changes a lot, and how we are used to watching movies in this day of age changes a lot too, and that’s great. But there’s nothing quite like all being in the same room and watching a film with others. ”

Baril said the continuation of Cinema Sundays is a way of recognizing Walch and his contributions to the school.

“It’s is an opportunity to honor Mr. Walch’s legacy with Cinema Sundays,” Baril said. “We’re bringing in guests who’ve participated in the past, who were close with him and who share a taste in movies with him. I wanted to bring those who could speak in the spirit of preserving Mr. Walch’s legacy and honor his presence.”

Artist, filmmaker and former Visual Arts Teacher Cheri Gaulke said she is looking forward to showcasing two of her own films at Cinema Sunday on March 5.

“It feels great to [come back] because I love Harvard-Westlake, and it’s been a community that has been supportive of me over the years,” Gaulke said. “When I was contacted and asked to discuss a film, I was extremely honored, and I was given the option to show my own work. So I’m very excited to show two short documentaries I created after I retired in 2019.”

Eva Goldrich ’25 said she is excited for the return of Cinema Sundays.

“The ability to enjoy a movie is almost universal,” Goldrich said. “Cinema Sundays also often features classical movies that are older, which I really appreciate. So I’m really looking forward to having a place where I can watch a movie and bond with my community that way again.”

Baril said Cinema Sundays will strive to honor rather than recreate Walch’s presence.

“Cinema Sundays function really nicely to give us that opportunity to come together, watch movies, talk about them and enjoy [doing so] as a group,” Baril said. “That kind of timeless goal that Cinema Sundays has doesn’t need to change. We all wish that Mr. Walch was here standing up in front of the room, and we are very used to his presence. So we’re going to try and capture that energy but not try to replicate his presence because we can’t. He had such a wonderful personality entirely his own that we have to let that be uniquely him while still enjoying watching movies together. Cinema Sundays have garnered a close-knit community, so I think it’ll be a special experience to be back in the room together and to see all these familiar faces and have them see each other.”

The upcoming Cinema Sundays are Feb. 26 and March 5 and will feature “A Fistful of Dollars,” “Miss Alma Thomas: A Life in Color” and “Inside the Beauty Bubble.”