Changes have been happening fast at Cinema Center. In the past year alone, the organization has hosted a silent film series scored by local musicians, a Frozen sing-a-long with director Chris Buck, Royal Shakespeare Company live broadcasts, and even a Goonies-themed treasure hunt. The theater has gained new members, reached out to more diverse audiences, and introduced a new tagline: “Film feels different here.”
And it does.
Cinema Center has always been a unique place to catch a movie, but film feels different at Cinema Center in so many new ways. And, while all of the changes have been great, perhaps no change was more needed (or more requested) than the new seats.
Last year, Cinema Center surveyed the community about their experiences at the theater. There were plenty of positive responses—people loved the unique film offerings, the intimate atmosphere, and the downtown location, for instance—but there was clearly room for improvement. The number one complaint? THE SEATS.
If you’d never been to Cinema Center, then it’s possible that you’d never had the unique “pleasure” of trying to enjoy a movie while sitting on a seat that, although it appears to have a cushion, feels as if it’s made of bare wood. Not only that, but there were two seats in the middle that were broken and no longer usable. So, when the Community Foundation introduced a “day of giving,” Cinema Center jumped at the opportunity and was able to raise over $25,000 in one day.
While securing funds and arranging for the replacement of a theater full of seats might seem like enough improvement for one year, Cinema Center was also being prepped for another big change—a bar! Alongside unique concessions like DeBrand MyBars™, treats from Sweets So Geek, and ice cream from The Ginger Kitchen, Cinema Center now serves wine and beer. With all these improvements, Cinema Center literally feels different than it did just a few months ago. But that’s not what the new tagline is all about.
Even without the new seats, delicious treats, and a glass of wine, there will always be something special about Cinema Center. Executive Director Jonah Crismore summed it up best at the 2014 Member Celebration:
Here, the doors shut. The lights dim. You’re with a tribe of film lovers that are all sharing in this one experience that you can’t get at any other theater—and you can’t get at home.
It’s not the seats. It’s not the ice cream. It’s not the wine—it’s that shared experience that you just can’t get anywhere else. That’s why film feels different here.