, Newburyport, MA


February 21, 2013

What's Up, Doc?!

Film festival offers a chance to see Bugs on the big screen

If the kids are driving you looney or you’re just looking for a carrot to distract them during vacation week, the 18th annual Bugs Bunny Film Festival is just what the doc ordered.

The festival, which takes place at the Brattle Theatre in Harvard Square, Cambridge, will be showing compilations featuring Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, and the rest of the Looney Tunes gang through this Saturday.

“It’s a rare opportunity to see these films as they’re meant to be seen,” said Ned Hinkle, programmer at the Brattle Theatre since 2001.

Although most people are used to seeing Bugs Bunny on the small screen, the shorts were originally made to be played in movie theaters, complete with popcorn and candy.

“Kids get a different experience with film and animation,” Hinkle said of the festival.

Peter Dankens of Andover brings his children to the festival every year. He believes that the quality of the Looney Tunes is unmatched by anything being created today.

“The animation on these is far superior, in my opinion, to what’s being produced now,” he said via email. “Each cell of the cartoon was individually drawn back then, and my kids can see how much better illustrated and animated they are. The colors are fantastic, and it’s like fine art compared to ‘Sponge Bob’ and ‘Adventure Time.’”

The Bugs Bunny Film Festival began 18 years ago, when Warner Brothers ran a national tour to celebrate a Looney Tunes anniversary.

The Brattle hosted the Warner Brother’s event, and found that the tour drew a new type of movie-goer to its theater’s seats.

“It opened up a family audience, which the theater hadn’t seen at the time,” Hinkle said. “That was exciting, and we decided to just keep doing it.”

The film festival has grown ever since and draws nearly 2,000 visitors over nine days. Many of the viewers are families, but consistent attendance at late-night screenings proves that the festival is not just for kids.

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