Our little organization is now five years old -- a major threshold to cross -- and it’s great to know we’re here to stay. Those who’ve been here from the beginning can see that it’s really a “thing” now: we show movies seven days a week (sometimes three per day), there’s a bountiful community of regular members who have made new friends (and even spouses!) here, we pay our rent on time -- and if I can show a little pride, we bring pretty awesome programming to L.A. on such a regular basis it just feels like the new normal. The Cinefamily could bump along as it has, a cozy little ramshackle operation that constantly surprises me with what it can do on a shoestring, because of the passion and energy of a very devoted staff, and an even more devoted audience.
But there are some problems we need to solve together.
We’ve never had the money to build a proper home here out of The Silent Movie Theatre: a wonderful old building, but one built in 1942 that’s not up to the standards of a first-class cinematheque, something we think we have become. All of the money we’ve made has gone back into our programming -- as it should! -- and we’ve never been able to afford certain basic necessities.
We’re holding a rare screening of something exciting we’ve always wanted to show -- and our projector breaks down.
We’ve got Tenacious D, or Bill Callahan on stage -- and our sound system maxes out.
We have a theater full of excited, film-loving people -- and they’re sitting in seats akin to a medieval torture device.
And even if we -- and more importantly, you -- could deal with the chairs for another five years, there’s an expense that we, as well as every other independent theater in the world, has to face in the coming year: we need to get a new “DCP-compliant” digital projector.
Without this, no new indie film with aspirations will ever screen here again.
You’ve heard about the “death of film”. Many have been comparing the film-to-digital conversion with the silent-to-sound shift, when thousands of theaters went out of business nationwide, because they couldn’t afford the conversion. I’m not gonna get into the weeds of the film vs. digital debate here, other than to say Cinefamily is committed to playing as much celluloid film stock as possible, whenever possible--but it is essential we are able to play whatever format a film is available in.
‘Cause it’s not just new movies -- as many restorations of classic films will be coming out DCP-only as well. This is already happening -- the new restoration of Children of Paradise was DCP-only, as was Polanski’s Tess, Zulawski’s The Important Thing is to Love, and so on. There’s a big Hitchcock restoration series coming out next year that, in our current state, we can’t bring to you.
So, as our annual ask/end-of-the-year pledge drive approaches, we’re launching a Kickstarter campaign not just to renovate the theatre, but also to get this new projector we desperately need. If we raise enough money, this projector problem will be solved. If we raise more, then we can replace the seats. And if we raise more -- well, let’s just say there’s so much more we could do. Trust me.
Check out the Kickstarter.
We also made one hell of a fun video for it -- and it's got narration by the legendary Shadoe Stevens! Please do share this video for others to see -- wear your Cinefamily colors proud. Spreading the word helps almost as much as making a donation, and costs less (wink.)
Oh, and lest I forget: circle your calendars for another crazy, holiday-themed Telethon, one that will even outdo last year’s shindig as the greatest holiday party/fundraiser/celebration of cinema/programming-as-performance-endurance-art you’ve ever witnessed! It’s gonna be a FREE 24-hour marathon of Cinefamily programming on Saturday Dec. 15th & Sunday, Dec. 16th, with guests galore, all live-streamed on our website for the world to see (thanks to Cinespia).
More on that tomorrow, with the first list of guests. But for now, lemme leave you with just three little words: Robert Downey, Jr.