The Secret Sessions–an innovative, fully-immersive film event series–is kicking off their own royal wedding, right here in Toronto! This week, they’re presenting The Princess Bride: The Movie Experience (May 24 through June 2). Actors, set designers, directors and more will all work together to bring scenes from this classic film to life!
We chatted with the Secret Sessions founder, Bronwyn Cuthbertson, about what goes into the series, the first movie she ever loved, and what you can expect from this week’s event.
SDTC: What is the movie you’re DYING to live out?
BC: The movie that is top of the bucket list is Moulin Rouge. It would be such a fun world to create and bring to life.
Why do you think people are drawn to the immersive experience over just going to a movie?
People are looking for unique experiences. We are living in a time where there is so much excellent television and film and it is easily accessible in your home via HBO or Netflix. People want to experience something more and we offer an opportunity for make believe and fun.
How do you select the movies for the Secret Sessions?
We look for classic films that offer a world people can become a part of and explore. We also look for films that will adapt nicely to our screening format while we play our part of the movie on screen and part live. A movie that is largely based in one location (The Breakfast Club, for example) doesn’t work well for this format.
Is the Secret Sessions your side hustle?
I work full-time for the Ontario government as a manager, so my days are already busy. The Secret Sessions is what I plan on evenings and weekends, plus I have hired a great team that keeps things moving along while I am at my regular job. It is a lot of work–especially in the lead up–but there is nothing better then seeing the whole show come together that makes it all worth it.
In a typical day, I wake up and send a few Secret Sessions emails before breakfast, head to work, do a social post during lunch and then spend the evening sourcing materials, reaching out to sponsors and responding to customer questions. Then I head to bed.
What was the best career/life advice you ever received?
A manager once said to me that everyone is replaceable. This is something I try to keep in mind when I get really stressed out and think I am the only possible person that can do something. As a producer, you are constantly problem solving no matter what gets thrown your way; the show must go on.
What can participants expect from the next Secret Session?
Guests are invited to the royal wedding of Prince Humperdinck and Princess Buttercup. The whole kingdom is invited, so you can choose to come as any medieval character. We give examples, like being a queen, pirate, peasant or knight. Anything can happen during the Movie Experience. The Impressive Clergyman might marry you to a fellow guest, Miracle Max and Valerie could provide you with a diagnosis for any ailment you have, you could fence with Inigo Montoya or be strapped to the Machine by the Albino.
It is a participatory event, so the audience can choose the level engagement they want to have. Some may choose to pick up a sword and try fencing a character while others may be more comfortable observing all the fun.
What is the first film you remember loving?
Mary Poppins was an early favourite. Julie Andrews is always practically perfect in every way.