One Year, We're Still Here!
It's hard to believe it has been a year since our Co-Directors, Charlotte Sky and Dylan Skolnick, shared these words with our members and patrons:
"In every single crisis over the past 46 years of the Cinema’s history, we have always been able to best serve our community by staying open. This time is different. In this case, the right thing to do is to temporarily close."
Like just about everyone else, we had no idea how long our in-person operations would be impacted, but we immediately began the work of translating our robust slate of screenings and events to the virtual setting, and tightening up our operations to run as leanly as possible during this prolonged period of significant revenue reduction.
Understanding the economic uncertainty faced by all of us, we offered some of our programs for free. We also created some original programs and events in response to the fact that we were all suddenly homebound. For example, our Forks and Films program paired family movies with simple recipes that families could prepare together with items commonly kept in household pantries, without having to make special trips to the store. We held a movie poster contest where we asked people to re-create their favorite movie posters with household objects and we got so many excellent and creative entries. And we held a virtual Halloween Costume Contest for kids as a safe option for families choosing to keep their children at home. Sponsors provided great prizes including treats and toys. We also offered two drive-in movie presentations during the summer and fall, and have another drive-in event in the works.
We continue to learn and have made enhancements to our Virtual Screening Room to make it more user friendly. Throughout our temporary facility closure, we have been able to make high-quality, first-run features available to the public.
The Cinema Arts Centre has always relied on the generosity of our members, donors, sponsors, and grantmakers to empower us to deliver the widest variety of screenings and events to our community. During this time, fundraising has been and continues to be crucial to our survival. Over the past year, we have received over 5,000 individual contributions to the Cinema. Thank you so much. Your ongoing support sustains us as we work toward our reopening.
We have learned that the circumstances of the world don't always cooperate with predictions of exactly when that reopening will be, but work is well underway. We have taken this time to make many improvements to our facility, including installing touchless payment systems, and deep cleaning. We are replacing duct work and improving our ventilation and air quality. When the Cinema reopens, you will see new carpeting, and new seats! In addition to completing this work, which has involved the coordination of multiple vendors at a time when needed vendors were not always operating, there are some things we would like to see before we are confident that it is sufficiently safe to open the building, such as much wider availability of the vaccine to Long Island residents. But we will reopen, and that light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter - especially thanks to your engagement.
Since the advent of motion pictures, the movie theater industry has faced crisis, and many times it has been said that the days of seeing films in the theater are over. But the truth is, no one wants that. Filmmakers want their movies to be shown on the big screen where communities can come and see them together. Film distributors want to continue working with movie theaters and have done a lot in recent months to support our survival. And most importantly, our community wants to come back to the Cinema - and we can't wait to see you. From the beginning, we have said that hard times make you ask what you want to leave behind, and what you want to keep. We want to keep the Cinema Arts Centre in our community, and together, we are doing just that.
After a year, we are still here, sharing great programs remotely. Thanks to your continued involvement, our building will reopen once it is safer for in-person events. We miss you so much, and eagerly look forward to us all being together again when we reopen!