MODESTO — Movies with a literary bent will return to the big screen as the Modesto Film Society prepares its 2013-14 season.
All of the movies in the new season come from works of literature or theater, according to group co-founder and leader Randy Siefkin.
"All of this year's features are adapted from literature (books or short stories) or the theater (plays or musicals)," Siefkin said in an email interview. "We initially thought this would be a bit more complicated than the usual selection process, but the discovery of several books and websites on the subject simplified the task and actually expanded the list of choices."
The new film series, which will play throughout the year and into 2014 at the State Theatre in downtown Modesto, kicks off July 9 with a Cinema Club screening of Steven Spielberg's first blockbuster, "Jaws," starring Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw. A total of 20 movies will screen as part of the season.
The film society screens two separate series under its banner the Cinema Club and the Classic Series. The Classic Series is made up of American films produced between the 1930s and 1970s, Siefkin said. Cinema Club selections tend to be more contempo- rary although there are exceptions and may include foreign films.
The Classic Series opens July 21 with the 1963 World War II action drama "The Great Escape," starring Steve McQueen.
Siefkin said membership and nonmember patronage at screenings are still growing.
"We continue to post strong numbers, especially for musicals and comedies," he said. "About half of our audiences are usually nonmembers, an indication of the broad appeal of our programming. Without our members, however, we couldn't offer this kind of programming two times each month."
He said the film society's membership renewal rate has exceeded expectations for the new season, and organizers have seen an increase in new members as well.
"We are well on our way to extending the Film Society's membership beyond last year's 200-member mark," he said.
Other films in the Classic Series include:
"The Apartment"; a double bill of "Frankenstein" and "Dracula"; "The Maltese Falcon"; "Meet Me in St. Louis"; "Out of the Past"; "Pillow Talk";"The Music Man"; "Strangers on a Train"; and "Roman Holiday.
The other Cinema Club films are:
"The Jane Austen Book Club"; "A Place in the Sun"; "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"; "The Cider House Rules"; "A Christmas Story"; "The Age of Innocence"; "The Kite Runner"; "Coal Miner's Daughter"; "East of Eden"; and "Out of Africa."
Most screenings take place on the first Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at the State Theatre, 1307 J St., Modesto.
For more on the Modesto Film Society, call (209) 527-4697. For details on the films and screenings, see www.thestate.org.