I have a number of things on my mind right now, the first of which is to give you all a quick and overdue update on the Upper West Side Movie Project I wrote about last month, which brought a remarkable response. It seems I hit a nerve with the community, and I now have a long list of folks who have come forward to help in any way they can. What is it we need? For the moment, a space and, of course, money.
Since I last wrote, I have continued to be in touch with the landlords of the building I originally hoped could house the theater. While they claim to be closing a deal with another tenant, that deal is still not done as far as I can tell. I’ve scouted one other location that seemed promising, but after consulting my architect, it doesn’t seem ideal. So, at this moment, we still do not have a target location.
This is one of the areas where I could use your help. What we are looking for is a retail location somewhere between 72nd and 96th Streets. Decent theater spaces require high ceilings and ample distance between supporting columns; unfortunately, these are hard to find in existing buildings without requiring major construction. One possibility would be to find a new building that is still in the planning stages. If anyone knows of such a building, please let me know.
Many of you have suggested looking into the old Lincoln Plaza space. Trust me, I have. The owners are not being realistic about what they are looking for. I might add that I would prefer to be further uptown and not right on top of Lincoln Center, where there are already three art film theaters that are among the best anywhere.
On the money end, I am working on what’s called a fiscal sponsorship that will allow me to raise some seed money for the project. The goal will be $100,000 and the fiscal sponsorship will allow the contributions to be tax deductible in the interim period before we form our own 501c3. As soon as this is finalized, I’ll be reaching out for contributions.
Thanks for all of your support.
I am also involved with another initiative called “Missing Movies” that was formed because so many films, especially independent films from the ’80s and ’90s, are no longer available to see. There was a terrific article this week on Letterboxd about our efforts, and we concurrently published a list of 101 Missing Movies that we have identified. You’ll be very surprised at some of the titles. You can see more about what we are doing at the official website, http://missingmovies.org.
Even though I am a member of the Motion Picture Academy, I have mixed feelings about the Oscars. I take the responsibility of voting seriously and I try to see as many eligible films as possible. The last few years, I’ve managed to see every nominated film before voting. On the other hand, the amount of money that is spent on campaigning for the Oscars is absurd, the amount of press that is focused on the Oscar race is embarrassing, and it all adds up to exhaustion. So, while there was a lot to like about the Oscars this year, I’m truly glad they are over. The problem is that the Oscar prognosticators are already handicapping next year! I’ll have more to say about this soon.