The Palm offers the year-round possibility of screening big films in Telluride. The Telluride Film Festival has contributed two hundred thousand dollars worth of improvements toward making the Michael D. Palm Theatre for the Performing Arts work as a first rate film venue for users throughout the year, as well as over Labor Day Weekends. In addition, the theater will host the latest school-festival project, "Sunday at the Palm." With funding help from The Telluride Foundation, a film series will continue on one Sunday afternoon each month during the academic year and will be free and open to the community. Film favorites from a variety of time periods and genres will give Telluride students, their teachers and other community members an opportunity to experience the magic of watching a movie together on a big screen. Telluride already has one of the best educated film audiences on the planet, and festival director Bill Pence is convinced that “the more young people who learn to love and understand the language of film, the better the environment for the festival to flourish.” Ellen Shelton, a teacher who has used film in the classroom for over a decade, is preparing packets about the films for local teachers in advance of the screenings. These academic materials are aligned with content standards, provide background information related to the film, include discussion points, and offer suggestions for further activities. Notes in the festival’s traditional format will also be offered to all audience members at each Sunday at the Palm program. The film that has been selected to launch the new film series is The Thief of Bagdad, arguably the most splendid fantasy film ever made. This Technicolor masterpiece played at the first Telluride Film Festival and was directed by Michael Powell, who received a tribute at the fourth Telluride Film Festival. At a time when Baghdad has been filled with conflict, the film treats its audience to a journey back to the years when “the Arab world” functioned as a timeless land of the imagination and the marvelous, free from all historical, ethnographic and realistic constraints. Screenings of this film in a pristine 35mm Technicolor format are so rare that the program on Sunday afternoon will provide a fairytale ending to the weekend’s Gala celebration. The Thief of Bagdad screens at The Palm on Sunday, March 27, at 4 p.m. Admission is free.