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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

With a new year comes a new beginning to the independent film scene in Gainesville. This week, the Avenue caught up with Jason McNeal, a film lover and movie buff who has been on the hunt for great, contemporary indie films to show in the area. “$5 Films,” as he calls it, will take place at the Wooly in the heart of downtown, located next to the Top.

Through the end of the month, Jason is bringing it all every Thursday at 8 p.m. — comedy, horror, documentaries and cult classics, to name a few. He said he’s tired of Hollywood’s superhero epics and is doing things his own way — showing films that are in your face and personal. For many of the films, this may be the only time they have been shown in a movie-theater setting. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online at

Here’s what Jason has to say about the films:

“Bad Milo!”

  • Genre: horror/comedy
  • Showing: Today at 8 p.m.
  • Admission: Free

“That is a (film) similar to ‘Gremlins,’ about a small demon that lives in a guy’s colon. It escapes and starts killing people,” Jason said. “Yeah, there’s only one way for him to exit.”

“Dear Mr. Watterson”

  • Genre: documentary
  • Showing: Thursday, Jan. 16, at 8 p.m.
  • Admission: $5

A portion of the proceeds will go to a benefit for the Sequential Arts Workshop, which is a nonprofit organization in Gainesville that Jason is trying to help.

“That’s about the creator of Calvin and Hobbes, which has been out of print for 15-something years. But the creator, Bill Watterson, is notoriously reclusive, and so he did that comic strip for a number of years and quit and has gone cold turkey and never done anything else. So this guy who made the documentary tried to write him a letter and couldn’t finish it,” Jason said. “That’s why it’s called ‘Dear Mr. Watterson.’”

“Ms. 45”

  • Genre: cult classic from 1981, uncut
  • Showing: Thursday, Jan. 23, at 8 p.m.
  • Admission: $5
  • Directed by Abel Ferrara, who is similar to Martin Scorsese in the indie-film world.
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“So this is a re-release of a 1981 film, and it’s about a New York City mute — she can’t hear or speak — who gets assaulted and then takes revenge on the criminal elements of New York City.”

“Bettie Page Reveals All”

  • Genre: documentary
  • Showing: Thursday, Jan. 30, at 8 p.m.
  • Admission: $5

“She was a pinup model back in the ‘50s, and she . . . also became a recluse as well. She became a born-again Christian and turned her back on the whole modeling community,” Jason said. “There’s been a lot of documentaries about her, but this is the first one that is her talking about herself, which is unusual. She wanted to give up that part of her life and was in hiding for 20-something years and someone found her … and gradually got her to open up what she had done.”

A version of this story ran on page 8 on 1/9/2014 under the headline "Indie films to shake up Thursday nights in Gainesville"

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