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Goldstein: Ive also noticed that people have expectations for [what belongs at Film Forum]. Thats fine, but I dont want to be so inflexible. Twenty years ago, I wouldnt have shown a film from 1980, but now I would.
LESS IS MORE
Jed Rapfogel, film programmer, Anthology Film Archives: We pride ourselves on never showing things specifically to draw a large audience. Well put something on the calendar and expect nobody to show up, and more often than not, itll surprise us. Thats our market identity, I guess. People respond to it.
Thomas Beard, founder and director, Light Industry: Growth can be a presupposed ideal for a not-for-profit organization. Its something we actively question. Something that people like about Light Industry is that it maintains a human scale. I wouldnt want it to be larger than what we along with interns can accomplish.
Ed Halter, founder and director, Light Industry: Just like an experimental filmmaker might not say, I have to go up to the next level and make a feature with a crew. We realized thats the aesthetic were going for. Rarefied is what we want. Our purpose is not to serve a large audience in that way, the way that most cinemas do. We do one show a weekthats it.
Steve Holmgren, programmer, UnionDocs: We can seat 45 people, and it never seems like more than a living room.
Aaron Hillis, programmer, reRun Gastropub Theater and Voice contributor: There are great films out on the festival circuit that arent being released, maybe films without a movie star or an easy hook. 60 seats gives me the freedom to take that risk. Its easier to fill a one-screen intimate little theater tucked inside a bar than it is to try to pack Film Forum. Its a little unorthodox here. Its a movie theater, and its not a movie theater.
Lampert: I also think theres something to be said for not showing great movieswhere great isnt the key determining factor. We have programs where different film collectors come and show medical films. Its not even avant-garde. Just another territory.
Rapfogel: A lot of places have achieved this thing where people go to get some culture. God knows we want people to come here. But we want it to be about the work.
Cristina Cacioppo, film programmer, 92YTribeca: I want it to have a family feeling, because then its communal and these people come to support one another, and thats been a part of building the feeling of the place. For sing-alongs, Ill even ask the audience what they want to see. And Ill have people write titles. Its like, OK, if you want this, well try it.
REELING THEM IN
David Schwartz, chief curator, Museum of the Moving Image: These days, a programmer has to put together an experience. You need to have great prints; the architecture of the room has to be great. It needs to be an immersive and social experience.
Scott Foundas, associate program director, Film Society of Lincoln Center: Now it seems that people are more inclined to go to the cinema if theres some kind of enhanced viewing experienceIMAX, 3-D, etc. In our small way, were trying to think of a way to show old movies that have an enhanced component.
Goldstein: I brought back [horror huckster] William Castle, The Tingler. Everyone took part in it. There were a couple of ushers that played victims. Its theater. We cant just show movies. Theres too much competition.
Foundas: Theres something to be said about the context in which you show films. Whether its having someone to talk about the film, or the filmmaker in personwhich is very hard to replicate on your iPad.
Harris Dew, director of programs and promotions, IFC Center: Not to get too [Walter] Benjamin, but its nice to make it not so chemically reproduced once in a while.
Livia Bloom, guest curator, Maysles Cinema: Its really nice to be able to use whats unique about each venue to its advantage. You could say that Maysles Cinema only has video projection, only has 50 seats, but thats an advantage for a lot of reasons. There are a lot of films that are only available digitally, and look better on that screen and in that setting.
Hillis: Oftentimes, bartenders serve as projectionists here. But at the same time, were state-of-the-art. And Ill go toe-to-toe and say that if I play a Blu-ray on my 12-foot screen, its going to look better than half the movie houses in New York, playing on a bigger screen. Even multiplexes show things digitallyyoure not losing the magic of cinema.
Halter: We dont show 35mm. But that puts us even stronger in the cinematheque tradition of video, 16mm, Super 8, and performance. Theres something about the intimacy of the space that serves that kind of work.
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