"Beloved downtown theater" by Tom Boyer


The first movie I saw at Cinema Center was Trainspotting. I won free tickets in a radio contest. This was sometime in 1996. At the time, Cinema Center to me was this vague concept of a movie theater somewhere downtown. I think it was one of the first times I was in downtown at night and there wasn't some sort of festival going on. 

As time progressed, I would grow to love Cinema Center, from the IPFW summer films to movies you could only see at my now beloved downtown theater. I took two classes at IPFW that were held at Cinema Center. One was called "Politics in Film," the other was "Film Comedy." That alone exemplifies what is best about Cinema Center: its diversity. The breadth of films I have seen at Cinema Center ranges from the aforementioned Trainspotting to MatewanOleanaGallipoli, then uproarious comedies like Some Like It HotIt Happened One NightTo Be or Not to BeWhat's Up Doc? and even modern classics like Legally Blonde.


My life has been intensely enriched by Cinema Center. I still see movies there whenever I can. I donated to the digital projector initiative because I want to keep coming downtown to see great movies. When I bought a house, I moved from the suburbs to the city, because I wanted to be close to downtown attractions like Cinema Center. I want to keep seeing movies that are entertaining, engaging, and intellectually stimulating. I learned so much from Cinema Center's movies over the years, and I want future generations to have the same memorable movie experiences I had. 

Help Cinema Center go digital by donating to the Digital Projector Fund today.



Tom Boyer is a financial services marketing professional and graduate of IPFW. He is also a community volunteer for Northeast Indiana Public Radio and serves on the board of Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana. 

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"Sharing the experience" by Thom Johnston


Watching a movie in the comfort of your own home is okay, but there's nothing like sharing the experience with a theater of fellow film fans.    

Hoosiers are a bit more reserved, but my best theater experience ever was watching "Gone With the Wind" at the Castro Theater in San Francisco. When Rhett Butler scooped up Scarlett and started to climb the staircase, a deep voice from the back of the theater pleaded, "TAKE ME."

Moments like that don't happen in mainstream movie theaters. 

Don't see a South Park movie at a matinee, for instance. There were just a handful of people in the theater and I burst out laughing at a spectacularly politically incorrect joke. When I realized I was the only one that laughed I wanted to crawl under my chair.

That’s what’s so great about a theater like Cinema Center.

My favorite Cinema Center experience was watching "Nosferatu" with live accompaniment. I squirmed with pleasure because the evening was unique. Can't get that kind of fun sitting at home. 

Help Cinema Center go digital by donating to the Digital Projector Fund today.



Thom Johnston is an HBV tycoon for Dos Homos Brand. 

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"My favorite seat" by Betty E. Stein


My Cousin Ann lives on the East Coast and has the habit of suggesting films I should see if they ever get to Fort Wayne. It is with the greatest of pleasures, I assure you, that I have informed her time after time the film is currently here or I see it will be here next week or yes, I really did enjoy it. You see, we have the Cinema Center.

A long-time member of Cinema Center, I have availed myself of the great pleasure of seeing films the "big houses" won't bother with. Now I even have a favorite seat: because I use a walker, I have found a comfortable spot where my walker can sit in an empty space next to me, and I don't have the panicky feeling of what would I do in an emergency. The walker is right there! And the theatre is small enough that sitting back there poses no visual or audio problem.

Working with management is also a gratifying experience. At times we have worked cooperatively to bring in films for special events and permitting discussion time at the films' conclusions.They have been successful undertakings. What more can I ask?

So if the Cinema Center has a problem and needs new equipment, you will find me being a cheerleader. This isn't asking for plush-lined seats or velvet-swathed walls. It is asking for equipment that is the result of tremendous technological advancements. We upgrade computers and get new iPads, and now we need up-to-date equipment for seeing films at Cinema Center. Where's the problem?

Please contribute. I may even ask Cousin Ann to help...

Help Cinema Center go digital by donating to the Digital Projector Fund today.



Betty E. Stein, a Fort Wayne native, is a columnist for the News-Sentinel, a retired educator (kind of retired), a movie maven and the mother of movie mavens.


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"A second home" by Leonard Williams


Cinema Center is a unique venue. For some, it's an occasional place to visit during a festival like Taste of the Arts; for others, it's a place for a date or an outing with friends. For me, Cinema Center has been a second home.

Movies have been key to my life's horizon for as long as I can remember. The film versions of Frankenstein and Dracula haunted my early dreams. Nothing can match the enduring thrill that I felt when seeing the television premiere of The Day the Earth Stood Still. Chicago stations showed all the old movies, classics and non-classics alike, and public television captivated me with the joys of silent films--not just the comedies of Keaton and Lloyd, but obscure dramas like The Tong Man. When I had a car, I regularly traveled to a small theatre in Hobart, Indiana, to catch new films not like those shown at the drive-ins.

It was in college, though, that I learned about the diverse, wondrous artistry of film. In Carbondale, at Southern Illinois University, a world of film was available both in town and campus. In town, one could see popular fare like Butch Cassidy and Cabaret, but also quirky films like Annie Hall and Nashville.On campus, though, it was a different world altogether. There I saw classics of German Expressionism (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari), the old serials that I saw first on TV (Flash Gordon and Commander Cody), thought-provoking animated films from Yugoslavia and Canada, experimental films (including those by John and Yoko), not to mention great foreign films by Bergman, Truffaut, and Goddard.

Fast forward through many years, and I find myself in North Manchester. Cinema Center does not have a permanent home, but I come to watch films in an auditorium in the art museum--at least when the demands of family and work make it possible. By the time I move to Fort Wayne, I am traveling to Cinema Center's Berry Street location every weekend and sometimes during the week. The movies it shows provoke conversations that begin in the lobby and end days later. I marvel at the diverse audiences that come to its various films. Special events occur in and around the movies: annual gatherings like Artament, occasional parties for films like A Prairie Home Companion or The Big Lebowski, monthly Movie Talk conversations about films (from the endearing Lars and the Real Girl to my beloved The Day the Earth Stood Still) and the issues they raise. All these yield a host of new friends and acquaintances, united by a love of movies. It was not long before I become a member, volunteer on a committee, and eventually join the Cinema Center board.

As a non-profit arts organization dedicated to film, Cinema Center is a unique treasure for Fort Wayne, northeast Indiana, and northwest Ohio. It supports local filmmakers by premiering their works. It helps build an intelligent audience for film and other arts through its programming and discussions. It crosses cultural boundaries by showing films from diverse communities and experiences, films not shown in commercial theaters.

These days, we can see all kinds of movies wherever we may be. Megaplexes show them at multiple times in many dimensions; Netflix and smartphones bring them to us on demand. To experience film, though, you have to sit in the dark, with an intimate crowd, in a theater staffed by friends and neighbors who love movies. Our neighborhood cafes, food trucks, and farmers' markets, encourage us and make it possible for us to eat local. For decades now, Cinema Center has made it possible for us to watch local. Where else can you stay at home, be among friends, and still see the world?

Help Cinema Center go digital by donating to the Digital Projector Fund today.




Leonard Williams is a Professor of Political Science at Manchester University.


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"This downtown treasure" by Geoff Paddock


The Cinema Center is a wonderful addition to downtown Fort Wayne, which is becoming more vibrant each year. I have been attending events there for over 20 years, and I am always impressed with how beautiful and well run the facility is.

Recently, it was announced that the Cinema Center will be embarking on a capital campaign to raise money to purchase a new digital projector for the theater. Updating this equipment is vital to the continued long term success of the Cinema Center, and I am pleased to see this effort going forward. I know it will be supported by the business community, area foundations, and many citizens who attend events there on a regular basis.

The Cinema Center is located in the Fifth Councilmanic District. It is vital that we work together to keep this treasure downtown.

Help Cinema Center go digital by donating to the Digital Projector Fund today.



Geoff Paddock is Councilman in Fort Wayne's Downtown Fifth District and the Executive Director of Headwaters Park. 





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