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Cultural Center to round out holiday season with movie fest from Dec. 26 - 29

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History will round out its 2006 holiday season with four family movies on the big screen of the Norman L. Fagan West Virginia State Theater from Tuesday, Dec. 26, through Friday, Dec. 29, at the Cultural Center, State Capitol Complex, in Charleston. The films will begin at 2 p.m. each day, and are free and open to the public.

The Tuesday, Dec. 26, film is Babe (1995, 94 minutes, Rated G). This Academy Award-winning fantasy film tells the story of a little pig with big dreams who teaches himself to be a sheepdog in Australia. When a farmer wins the piglet at a carnival by guessing its weight, he brings it home. A maternal collie, who just delivered her own litter, welcomes Babe into her family and teaches him about farm life. The precocious pig soon proves that he can be a valuable asset to the farmer and his wife in a most unexpected way. Special effects allow the menagerie of farm animals to speak throughout this magical live-action tale.

On Wednesday, Dec. 27, Mary Poppins (1964, 140 minutes, Rated G) will light up the screen with its own special movie magic. This tuneful Disney classic won five Academy Awards and marked the film debut of Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins, the cheerful, non-nonsense nanny with rosy cheeks, a magic carpetbag and the ability to do practically anything. Mary transports the Banks family into a world where imagination is king, penguins dance with chimneysweeps, and live-action mingles with animation. The film also stars Dick Van Dyke, Ed Wynn and Glynis Johns.

Peter Pan (2003, 113 minutes, Rated PG) will be featured on Thursday, Dec. 28. The film is a bold new take on the J. M. Barrie classic. Australian director P. J. Hogan breaks from tradition and employs an actual boy, Jeremy Sumpter, as the lad who refuses to grow up. All the familiar Nerverland touchstones are here, including Tinker Bell, the Lost Boys and their nemesis, Captain Hook. Children will be transported by the magnificent production design and special effects, and they’ll cheer Peter’s dashing duels with Hook.

The final film, March of the Penguins (2005, 84 minutes, Rated G), will air on Friday, Dec. 29. This Academy Award-winning documentary film depicts the yearly journeys of the Emperor Penguins of Antarctica through the most punishing environment on Earth as they leave the ocean to walk inland to their ancestral breeding grounds. The film goes into depth regarding the survival and the brave struggle of the penguins against the harsh conditions of the Antarctic, and the close emotional bonds between the penguin families. Morgan Freeman narrates the story and provides an inside look at the trek and the survival of these majestic birds and their triumph over tragedy.

For more information about the holiday film series, call (304) 558-0162.

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. Visit the Division’s website at www.wvculture.org for more information about programs of the Division. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

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