Former Billings resident Robert Elder is bringing his latest book, “The Film That Changed My Life,” to the Babcock Theatre on Sunday for a reading.
As part of the event, “The Wizard of Oz” will be screened. The film was selected by director John Waters as the film that changed his life. Waters is included in Elder’s book.
Elder interviewed 30 film directors about their life-changing experience with films. Waters told Elder about a scene in “The Wizard of Oz” that inspired him to make movies.
“And when they throw the water on the witch, she says, ‘Who could ever have thought a good little girl like you could destroy all my beautiful wickedness?’ That line inspired my life. I sometimes say it to myself before I go to sleep, like a prayer.”
The screening and book signing is the final event for his book tour.
Its sister volume, “The Best Film You’ve Never Seen,” was an attempt by Elder to rewrite film history, a search for unsung classics. In this book, 35 directors champion their favorite overlooked or critically-savaged gems — movies that they love, that perhaps are under-appreciated.
Roger Ebert praised “The Best Film You’ve Never Seen”: “How necessary this book is! And how well judged and written! Some of the best films ever made, as Elder proves, are lamentably all but unknown.”
Elder is a graduate of Billings Senior High and the University of Oregon. He is vice-president of digital content and editor-in-chief for Chicago Sun-Times Media Local. He also covered film for the Chicago Tribune.
His appearance at the Babcock Theatre begins with a 6 p.m. reception and book signing, followed by a 7 p.m. Q & A session with Jaci Webb, arts and entertainment writer for The Billings Gazette. “The Wizard of Oz,” which is celebrating its 75th anniversary, will be screened at 7:20 p.m.
Admission is $5 at the door.
The event is being produced by Sean Lynch and 11:11 Entertainment.