• Dante in 2009

This weekend director Joe Dante will be in town to introduce three of his films, each of which comes from a very different phase of his career. On Saturday Dante will host a screening of his first film, The Movie Orgy (1968), at the Nightingale. An epic found-film collage originally designed as a happening for college campuses, it represents Dante’s love of old movies and American kitsch in general in its purest state. On Friday he’ll be at the Music Box to introduce a midnight screening of Gremlins 2: The New Batch, made during the height of his success as a studio filmmaker, and a 9:30 PM screening of The Hole, a 2009 horror comedy that was produced independently. Last week I spoke with Dante—along with local programmer Gabe Klinger, who organized the screenings—about these three films. I knew it was going to be a good interview when Dante told me he’d been a fan of the Reader since the 1970s, and, sure enough, he proved an engaging and gracious subject. Following the jump is the first part of our conversation, which concerns The Hole, shooting in 3-D, and the challenges of working for Hollywood studios. I’ll post our discussion of The Movie Orgy (and Dante’s gratitude to Schlitz Beer) tomorrow.