"A wonderful gift" by Beth Heironimus


In 1995 I was invited to join a friend for a movie at Cinema Center — Richard III, starring Ian McKellen. It was a retelling of the Shakespeare tale set in 1930s England. I'd not been to this particular theater before. It was small, I thought. Different than the theaters I'd been to before. I wasn't sure what to think. Shakespeare was a little dense for me, and my only exposure had been Zeffirelli's "Romeo and Juliet," which I had seen in a high school literature class. Nevertheless, I settled down and watched the film. 

To my surprise, I liked it.

Over the years I've seen more films at Cinema Center than I can count. I've watched comedies, dramas, documentaries, science-fiction, biographies — some independently produced, some locally-produced and some released by major studios. Some have been better than others, some have been brilliant. All have one thing in common — they are stories told by artists in a thought-provoking way. That theater that I thought was small in 1995, I now consider intimate. I am comfortable seeing a film there alone because even if I know no one there, I know those I'm with share a fondness for excellence in film. 

As I've matured my appreciation for Cinema Center has grown beyond measure. We are so fortunate to have not only such a theater, but a committed group of people who oversee it. They understand their audience and the type of film worthy of them. Consequently, that audience is given a wonderful gift — at a bargain price.

I've lived in Fort Wayne almost all of my life and I've seen many things come and go here. Cinema Center cannot be one of those that we allow to leave. Once it's gone it would be almost impossible to get it back. And after its demise, we'd sit and grouse about why we ever let it get away. We're in a pinch, folks. Cinema Center needs a digital projector to continue to be operational. The cost for this projection system conversion is $50,000. That is a lot of money for a little non-profit theater to raise. But, we live in a generous community, and hopefully one that understands the value of cinema and how it enriches our lives.

Won't you consider a donation? Let Cinema Center remain the vital part of our growing community that it has been since it opened its doors in 1976. To give, please visit http://www.cinemacenter.org/projector/index.html. I, and the rest of our area's movie buffs, thank you.

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


Beth Heironimus is Creative Director at United Way of Allen County. She is also the creator of award-winning Cinema Center event invitations and has a special fondness for witty banter.



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"A real fan" by Claire Ewart


Rare and to be savored are those moments when the lives of others depicted on film so entrance us as to become emotionally moving. Rarer still is such a space in time, when story enfolds us in an unfamiliar culture, a landscape distant in time or physical geography.


From Zhang Yimou’s stunning Raise the Red Lantern starring Gong Li to Yōjirō Takita’s
touching Foreign Language Oscar sensation Departures, Cinema Center brings us the best of Foreign Language film, along with popular offerings from nearer at hand. In not only making these powerful works accessible, but often partnering with local organizations, like Fort Wayne Sister Cities, Cinema Center gives us far more reward than that asked in return of members and theater goers.

What we can reply with now is the help needed to complete the transition to the digital world. By contributing for the purchase of a new digital projector, you will help insure that Cinema Center will be able to continue the mission of providing the best in film to our community.

Now that’s something to pass the popcorn for!

A real fan,

Claire Ewart

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


Claire Ewart is an author, illustrator, arts supporter, and film fan.



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"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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