"Finding my community" by Kathy Bock
Mon, Jul 1 2013 09:01
Some people have big, loving families. Some have church. Others have clubs and social groups. Me? I’ve always had Cinema Center. It’s the one place I go to feel connected. To be among like-minded individuals. To find a true sense of community. (Which, come to think of it, is kind of odd for a place where everyone sits alone in the dark.)
But Cinema Center is more than great movies. Shoot, if that’s all you want, you can just plant yourself on the couch and hit “Play.” And quite often I do, getting more than my money’s worth out of Netflix, DVDs and umpteen on-demand options. But comfy as my couch is, I always come back to Cinema Center.
Why? Maybe it’s because I like walking in the door and being handed a tub of popcorn by Caroline (who knows I’m a member and I take my popcorn plain).
Maybe it’s because Cinema Center is intimate, friendly and always costs less than the big theater chains. Actually, if you’re a member, it’s crazy cheap – just 5 bucks and the popcorn is free. And that’s not even counting the scads of free films Cinema Center shows as a public service to the community. What other theater does that?
Then there are the events. Nobody throws a party like Cinema Center. I’m thinking Good Burger Night, Artament, Braineaters’ Ball, the recent Hitchcock-themed Oscar Party, a poetry night for On the Road… Honestly, every time I check the website, there’s something quirky and fun coming up. Right now I’m over the moon about Cinema Center showing the original King Kong outdoors on the side of the Arts United building this summer. How cool will that be?
Of course, one of the main reasons I come to Cinema Center is because it’s home for me. This is where I belong. I first attended a Cinema Center movie back in 1979 when I was fresh out of college. I’d just moved to town and was looking for a place to go on a Saturday night so I wouldn’t feel so alone. I found it at Cinema Center.
In those days, the movies were shown at the Unitarian Universalist Meeting House on a finicky projector that made a lot of racket and broke down with alarming regularity, but that didn’t deter me. I’d found my people – and my kind of movies: North by Northwest, 8 ½, Mr. Hulot’s Holiday, Harold and Maude, A Place in the Sun, Throne of Blood, My Dinner with Andre, La Strada… Where else but Cinema Center was I going I see great films like these projected on a big screen? And where else could I go by myself and still be among friends?
Over the years, Cinema Center has grown and changed with the times, but it still shows the best movies in town and it’s still my favorite place to go on a Saturday night.
A few years back, I decided to throw myself a big 50th birthday bash. So naturally, I rented out Cinema Center and invited 100 of my closest friends to see Moonstruck, my favorite film. It was as close as I’ve come to a full-circle moment, having so many friends and relatives in the place where my adult life really began – the place that’s always been like a second home to me. (I get a little verklempt just thinking about it.)
But now, I understand that Cinema Center is threatened. If we don’t go digital, we go dark. Simple as that. We must raise $50,000 to buy a digital projector or it’s lights out. The industry is forcing the change, but it’s the community that must come together to save Cinema Center. I’m confident we can.
Won’t you please give generously to Cinema Center’s Digital Projector Fund? Do it for the arts. Do it for Fort Wayne. Do it for movie lovers like you and me, so together, we’ll always have that home in the dark.
See you there some Saturday night, okay?
Kathy Bock is a freelance advertising copywriter and three-time Cinema Center board member. She wants readers to know that even though she favors Saturday night screenings, Cinema Center is open seven days a week and now offers discounted weekday matinees.
"Nowhere else but Cinema Center" by Cathie Rowand
Fri, Jun 28 2013 10:16
I love a good documentary and I don’t recall any of the for-profit box theaters in town ever offering one. I don’t even think mainstream documentaries like What the Bleep Do We Know or Chris Rock’s Good Hair showed anywhere else but at Cinema Center.
A recent favorite of mine was David Turnley’s presentation of his movie Shenandoah, a film he has been working on since 2008. Turnley accompanied the presentation of his film and answered questions afterwards. In a relatively small city like Fort Wayne, such opportunities wouldn’t happen if it weren’t for Cinema Center.
The bottom line is: if it isn’t a profit maker, then the movie is not going to show at our local theaters. At Cinema Center gems from small distributors have been brought in for the simple reason that it is a great movie or thought-provoking. Now Cinema Center needs our help in updating to a new digital projector. Many donations of whatever you can give will pay for this and allow Cinema Center to continue offering opportunities that help make Fort Wayne the special city that it is.
Cathie Rowand is a photojournalist who wants to be a documentary filmmaker when she grows up.
"New love and an abiding presence" by Barb Wachtman
Mon, Jun 24 2013 05:13
It was the fall of 1997 and I had just started dating “this new guy” who was sweeping me off my feet. I ran into then Cinema Center director Cathy Lee in a book store and told her about “this new guy.” Cathy immediately advised me to see Masayuki Suo’s new movie Shall We Dance. “It’s a great date movie,” she promises.
She wasn’t kidding! Sensuous, funny, hot, well-sculpted characters, a universal story told new and memorable. For many months after that Tom (this new guy) and I took sharp corners when walking, just like the protagonist’s up-tight boss in Dance. Even in public places. Isn’t it silly the things people do during new love? And we turned many sharp corners!
When I told my husband Tom – “this guy” and I married in 1998 – about remembering Shall We Dance, I walked in exaggerated sharp corners and we both laughed. Since Shall We Dance, we have seen countless movies at CC together, we have become patron members, attended fundraisers and bought memberships as Christmas gifts for Tom’s son.
Beyond giving us a great “date movie” early in our courtship, Cinema Center has given us the gamut of great art as film from thoughtful movies such as The Lives of Others to lifetime love stories such as Amour.
Cinema Center was there to launch our relationship and has remained an abiding presence. We still turn sharp corners occasionally and always share a smile after the turn. It’s what great art during special moments does: tattoo itself to your memory and, if you’re lucky, on your heart, too.
Barb Wachtman is a passionate writer, communicator, community volunteer and Cubs fan. Like the cliche, she lives to laugh, learn and love.
"The math is simple" by Norma Friedman
Mon, Jun 24 2013 09:10
I just can’t think of one reason for anyone to contribute to the campaign to buy Cinema Center a digital projector. I can only describe thousands of reasons why the community must dig deep and give. Cinema Center has been the centerpiece of the Fort Wayne cultural experience for decades! Young, old, hip, conservative, student, and fine arts addicts have patronized this intimate, comfortable, versatile and clean arts venue. It has been providing movies, lectures, and performances for countless numbers of residents, friends, and visitors. It is a Fort Wayne arts destination.
Think of any city that does not have an independent non-profit movie theater in its art repertoire and you probably are looking at a dying, uninteresting, and economically depressed town, a place you just do not want to visit or live.
We simply cannot lose one of our most creative cultural attractions.
The math is simple. No digital projector, no Cinema Center.
Norma is a Professor Emeritus at Indiana Tech and a former Cinema Center board member.