Announcing the 2022 Board of Directors

By | Future Planning | No Comments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 3, 2022

Art House Convergence Announces the Results of Inaugural Board Election: Welcomes 15 Board Members

Art House Convergence (AHC) announced today the results of the Board of Directors election. An election was held Sept 21-28, 2022 with an electorate comprised of Art House Convergence members using secure, virtual ballots. Out of 42 candidates, the 15 candidates with the most votes were elected to the Board of Directors, a new governance body. 

Since its inception, AHC operated as a project of the Michigan Theater Foundation, without its own governing board, bylaws, or bank account. In September 2020, a volunteer group, the Transitional Working Group (TWG) was formed to support and facilitate Art House Convergence’s transition from the Michigan Theater to an independent organization by effectuating a membership drive and board election. The TWG shall dissolve and cede any and all responsibility for the management, government, and fiscal oversight of the Art House Convergence to the new Board. This board is tasked with incorporating the organization, effecting financial independence, and building the future of Art House Convergence as a democratic, transparent, diverse, equitable, inclusive organization.

The new board members will serve a term of office for a minimum of one year, with rolling terms of 1-3 years to be determined by this newly established board. Officers will be elected by the board. The fifteen (15) board members are:

  • Matt Bolish, Producer, NYFF & VP of Production & Operations, Film at Lincoln Center
  • Javier Chavez, Assistant Film Programmer, AFI Silver Theatre
  • Carolyn Chen, Legislative Analyst, Montgomery County Council; Film Festival Manager, Double Exposure Film Festival
  • Yasmin Chin Eisenhauer, Executive Director, Amherst Cinema Arts Center
  • Ben Delgado, Programming Director, FilmScene
  • Ben Godar, Executive Director, Des Moines Film / Varsity Cinema
  • Deirdre Haj, Executive Director, Film Streams Cinemas
  • Alicia Kozma, Director, Indiana University Cinema
  • Arin Liberman, Co-Executive Director, Ragtag Film Society
  • Lela Meadow-Conner, Creative Producer/Curator/Founder, mamafilm
  • Garineh Nazarian, Director of Marketing and Distribution, FilmRise
  • Asha Phelps, Operations & Administrative Manager, IFC Center
  • TT Stern-Enzi, Artistic Director, Over-the-Rhine International Film Festival
  • Emelyn Stuart, Owner, Stuart Cinema & Cafe
  • Stephanye Watts, Founder, BeReelBlack Cinema Club 

 

To learn more about the Art House Convergence Board and read member bios, click here.

 

 

About Art House Convergence:
The Art House Convergence (AHC) is dedicated to advancing excellence and sustainability in community-based, mission-driven cinema exhibition.

 

Media Contact:
Kate Markham
info@arthouseconvergence.org
Administrative Coordinator, Art House Convergence



A Letter from the Transitional Working Group: Membership & Board Nominations

By | Future Planning | No Comments

Dear Art House Community,

We, the members of the Art House Convergence Transitional Working Group, are writing today to invite your participation in the next phase of the Art House Convergence Community. We hope you’ll read this entire message and join us for next steps that invite your involvement.

BACKGROUND

Since 2006, the Art House Convergence (AHC) has been dedicated to advancing excellence and sustainability in community-based, mission-driven cinema exhibition. The annual conference, regional seminars, AHC Google group forum and programs provided networking opportunities, educational resources, and defined best practices for hundreds of theaters and festivals located throughout North America.

AHC made some mistakes along the way. Art House Convergence grew faster than ever could have been anticipated—much faster than the infrastructure and oversight necessary to support its own operations and governance. Since its inception, AHC was operated as a project of the Michigan Theater Foundation, without its own governing board, bylaws, or bank account. Nevertheless AHC evolved organically as a vibrant “community of practice” — a collection of programmers, administrators, distributors, vendors, critics, academics, and others who “share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.”

This community of practice was built over the past 16 years — largely from an engaged and enthusiastic cohort of volunteers — and we want to honor the efforts of these individuals, including past conference chairs and track heads, as well as the prior AHC staff members who worked to bring it all together.

While AHC was formed to be a nurturing professional network, it exhibited a pattern of failing to live its stated values, creating a historically unequal environment that felt hostile to some. In trying to repair those inequalities without proper training or more diverse staff changes, more harm was caused. It erased, maligned, devalued, and tokenized the contributions of volunteers of color, silenced criticism, and limited the development of healthy participatory democratic decision-making.  In perpetuating these behaviors, AHC failed to treat all of its stakeholders with respect and dignity.

TODAY

Formed in September 2020, the AHC Transitional Working Group (AHC TWG) is a volunteer body made up of previous AHC participants and new colleagues. The AHC TWG is a bridge. Our only charge is administering the formation of new representative leadership, through the process of a membership drive and an inaugural board election.  This is so a new, elected body can lead this organization into the future with a toolbox which includes transparent structure, operational accountability, and cultural competency.

AHC TWG recognized that we could not move forward with this endeavor without first acknowledging, examining, and addressing the systemic racism and structural oppression historically perpetuated within AHC. With the guidance of outside facilitators, we have further recognized and named individual and collective traumas that were born out of that environment.

The TWG has wrestled with the stark reality of AHC’s past failings, yet we entered into this work with the conviction that the mission remained worthwhile and important. The AHC could only be born anew if it addressed the pivotal questions of who is currently included in this community, ways in which we want to expand the community and how individual and team contributions are seen and valued.

NEXT

We are excited to now invite you to join this cinematic community of practice – either anew or for the first time – to be part of rebuilding AHC as a democratic, transparent, diverse, equitable, inclusive organization with a commitment to becoming anti-racist.

As announced in January, AHC has transitioned from being a program of the Michigan Theater Foundation to a fiscally-sponsored project of the Sundance Institute — an important step in ensuring our autonomy, independence, and accountability. Therefore we have created a template for a board structure, a code of conduct, bylaws, and a mature and effective financial structure. We want to build an organization that supports and sustains the broader art house community while respecting and reflecting the values of our constituent cinemas.

Here’s what comes next and how you can be a part of it:

We welcome you to opt-in as a member of AHC by filling out this New Member form, which includes a pledge to abide by AHC’s Code of Conduct. Membership will be free for 2022, with decisions about a future dues structure to be determined by AHC’s inaugural board. This call for membership will remain open, and we invite you to share this letter and the form with your networks so that it reaches new individuals and organizations.

AHC will be run by an elected board of directors, as described here. If you are interested in nominating yourself to run for a board seat, please fill out this form by August 5, 2022. The election for the inaugural board will be held Sept 1-7, 2022 with a strong commitment to transparency and democratic norms. (Upon the election and formation of the new board, the AHC TWG will disband and all leadership and decision making will be handled by the new, elected board.)

The AHC TWG looks forward to this transition by continuing this important, foundational process, and thanks you in advance for your involvement, support, and voice as we all map out the future of this organization.

Your Art House Convergence Transitional Working Group,

Camile Blake Fall
Brett Bossard
Chris Collier
Gina Cuomo
Ira Deutchman
Rebecca Fons
Jessica Green
Eugene Hernandez
Dan Hudson
Jan Klingelhofer
Stephanie Silverman
Dylan Skolnick
Emily Long
Kyle Westphal
Ronnie Ycong

Thank You, and Goodbye

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Hello Art House friends and colleagues,

I hope you are doing well and caring for yourselves through these difficult times.

I am writing this to let you all know that the time has come for me to move on from Art House Convergence and the Michigan Theater. My last day with both organizations will be Friday, October 29.

The absolute best part of this job over the years, what kept me going on tougher days, has been getting to know you all and your cinemas. I do not know what is next for me yet but I am certain that wherever I end up, one of your screens will be right down the road.

The torch of AHC will continue to be carried by the extraordinary Transitional Working Group, who have been shepherding this organization with care and intention over the past year. I am so excited for the new and brighter future they are building for our sector.

If you would like to keep in touch, please reach out to me at my personal email makenziepeecook(AT)gmail.com.

Thank you all — for everything.

With so much love,
Makenzie Peecook


 

A Message From the Transitional Working Group

Hello Art House Convergence community,

The Art House Convergence Transitional Working Group (AHC TWG) has been working over the past year and a half to transform the Art House Convergence, which has operated as a project of the Michigan Theater Foundation since its inception, into its own independent organization. Following a public process to nominate/self-nominate for service in the AHC TWG, a volunteer body — comprised of existing AHC members and new colleagues not previously affiliated with AHC, but active in the arthouse cinema sector and committed to reimagining AHC as a diverse and inclusive organization reflective of the community — has spent time working towards the goal of making the AHC a new organization that is distinct from the Michigan Theater Foundation.

In recent days, we have learned that AHC Events and Operations Manager Makenzie Peecook will be stepping away from her role at the end of October. All of us at the AHC TWG want to thank Makenzie wholeheartedly for her wisdom and grace throughout this whole process, and the AHC community is forever indebted to her leadership during this difficult time. Makenzie has embodied everything that we hope that our future organization will stand for — transparency, empathy, collective leadership — and we’re excited to see what she does next to make the independent film industry a stronger, warmer, and more engaged community. We want to also acknowledge the AHC TWG members who have had to step away from this work in the past 18 months — Carolyn Chen, Beth Gilligan, Shakira Refos — and are ever grateful for the contributions they have made toward these efforts.

Though with Makenzie’s departure there are no longer any staff members directly managing AHC operations on an ongoing basis, the AHC TWG is committed to ensuring that basic services such as the community Google Group and other organizational assets remain whole as we work toward finalizing a new organizational structure and home.

We know that this announcement will leave you with a lot of questions. We may be able to answer some, but please know that at this time we are still working out details. We expect that by the end of the calendar year, we will make a fuller announcement about the transition of AHC into a separate entity, initially with a 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor until such time as we establish ourselves as our own independent 501(c)(3), and present our plan of action to create a new governing Board accountable to the AHC community. While we will not be producing an in-person event in Utah in January, we look forward to gathering with you sometime in 2022 at a relaunched and reimagined conference, after the new Board and independent organization are in place.

Sincerely signed,
Art House Convergence Transitional Working Group:
Camile Blake Fall
Brett Bossard
Chris Collier
Logan Crow
Gina Cuomo
Ira Deutchman
Rebecca Fons
Jessica Green
Eugene Hernandez
Dan Hudson
Jan Klingelhofer
Gary Meyer
Stephanie Silverman
Dylan Skolnick
Emily Long Vito
Kyle Westphal
Ronnie Ycong

Art House Convergence Community Meeting 5.27.20

By | Future Planning | No Comments

Description

An open meeting was held on the evening of May 27, 2020 to discuss plans for the future of Art House Convergence. The agenda for the call can be found here. A full transcript of the meeting can be found here.

Meeting Follow-up

Please find the link to submit questions to the transitional board here.

Please find the link to a form to nominate yourself or someone you think would be great to the transitional board hereThe deadline to apply is Monday, June 1.

Below is a list of proposed actions steps to be taken by the transitional board. Please use the form above to submit questions and the Provisional Board will work to get those answered and posted as quickly as possible. They ask that this be done in a 72 hour window because there is urgency to this first phase of work.

Proposed Actions to be taken by Transitional Board:
  1. That the Art House Convergence immediately re-hire Alison Kozberg in the role of Interim Managing Director. Compensation and terms of employment to be determined.
  2. That the Provisional Board hold an emergency election to add new members to help facilitate the next stage of the organization and separation from the Michigan Theater Foundation.
  3. That the Provisional Board will negotiate with a new organization to transition the fiscal and intellectual assets of the Art House Convergence from the Michigan Theater. Any arrangement with that new organization will be a limited term, allowing the AHC to continue vital operations and programs to support theaters and to provide support while the AHC incorporates as a stand-alone organization. Any agreement entered will recognize the independence of the Art House Convergence, the timing to incorporation and separation, and the autonomy of the Convergence to pursue its mission.
  4. That the Provisional Board will work with the Board of the Michigan Theater Foundation to effectuate the transition, retaining all AHC assets, emails, website and access, relevant files, and finances related to the AHC including the $200,000 organizational seed money and any proceeds from the 2020 annual conference.
  5. That the Provisional Board will work with the Board of the Michigan Theater Foundation to retain Makenzie Peecook through at least September 30th, with no changes to her compensation or benefits per written documentation, to effectuate the transition to a new organization.
  6. That the Provisional Board work with the Interim Managing Director and delegates of the Convergence to create a Governance Committee, who will be tasked with creating a membership program and organizing elections for a new board of directors.
  7. That the Provisional Board effectuate a vote for a new board – selected and elected by the delegates of the Convergence – to be in place by Monday, Sept 7th, 2020.
  8. And that upon the election of the new Board of Directors, the Provisional Board shall dissolve and cede any and all responsibility for the management, government, and fiscal oversight of the Art House Convergence to the new Board.

Thanks all — this is an incredibly challenging time for so many reasons and I am so grateful to this community for coming together in this moment to work through next steps so we can come out the other side with an evolved, stable and forward moving AHC.

Take care,

Stephanie along with Chris, Dylan and Ronnie
criterion homepage (3)

Art-House America Campaign

By | Art House Advocacy | No Comments

On March 30 the Criterion Collection and Janus Films launched the Art-House America Campaign, an emergency fundraising effort dedicated to providing financial relief to art house movie theaters experiencing COVID related closures. As of May 28 the campaign has raised over $840,000 from over 5,000 donors dedicated to keeping the filmgoing experience alive. We are incredibly touched by the outpouring of support for art house cinemas.

We are also thrilled to announce that the campaign has been able to distribute its two rounds of grants. Congratulations to the 153 cinemas who have received support from the Art-house America Campaign! Thank you for you for making sure we can all return to the movies. 

14 Pews Houston, TX • ACME Screening Room Lambertville, NJ • AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center Silver Spring, MD • Alexander Valley Film Society Cloverdale, CA • American Cinematheque Los Angeles, CA • Amherst Cinema Amherst, MA • Anthology Film Archives New York, NY• a/perture cinema Winston-Salem, NC • Arena Cinelounge Los Angeles, CA • Arena Theater Association Point Arena, CA • Ark Lodge Cinemas Seattle, WA • ArtsEmerson Boston, MA • ArtsQuest, Bethlehem, PA • Athena Cinema Athens, OH • Austin Film Society Austin, TX • Avalon Theatre Washington DC • Avon Theater Film Center Greenwich, CT • The Beacon Cinema Seattle, WA • Bedford Playhouse Bedford, NY • BendFilm Bend, OR • BIJOU Theatre Lincoln City, OR • The Bookhouse Cinema Joplin, MO • Brattle Theatre Cambridge, MA • Broadway Metro Eugene, OR • Bryn Mawr Film Institute Bryn Mawr, PA • Byrd Theatre Richmond, VA • Cameo Cinema St. Helena, CA • Capri Theater Montgomery, AL • Carlisle Regional Performing Arts Center Carlisle, PA • Central Cinema Knoxville, TN • Chelsea Theater Cinema Capitol Chapel Hill, NC • Rome, NY • Cinema21 Portland, OR • CinemaSF San Francisco, CA • Cinematique of Daytona Daytona Beach, FL • Ciné Athens, GA • Cinema Arts Centre Huntington, NY • Cinema Detroit Detroit, MI • Cinemapolis Ithaca, NY • cinéSPEAK Folsom, PA • Cinestudio Hartford, CT • Circle Cinema Tulsa, OK • City Lights Cinemas Florence, OR • Civic Theatre of Allentown Allentown, PA • Clinton Street Theater Portland, OR • Colonial Theatre Phoenixville, PA • Coral Gables Art Cinema Coral Gables, FL • Columbia Film Society Columbia, SC • Court Square Theater Harrisonburg, VA • Dairy Arts Center Boulder, CO • Darkside Cinema Corvallis, OR • Denver Film Society Denver, CO • Dietrich Theater Tunkhannoock, PA • Echo Park Film Center Los Angeles, CA • The Emmaus Theatre Emmaus PA • Enzian Theater Maitland, FL • Eveningstar Cinema Brunswick, ME • Facets Chicago, IL • Fargo Theatre Fargo, ND • Film at Lincoln Center New York, NY • The Film Lab Hamtramck, MI • Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul Minneapolis, MN • Film Streams Omaha, NE • Film Scene Iowa City, IA • Frida Cinema Santa Ana, CA • Gateway Film Center Columbus, OH • Gold Town Theater Juneau, AK • Grail Cinema Asheville, NC • Grandin Theatre Roanoke, VA • The Grand Cinema Tacoma, WA • Grand Illusion Cinema Seattle, WA • Guild Cinema Albuquerque, NM • The Historic Artcraft Theatre Franklin, IN • Historic Howell Theater Howell, MI • The Historic Vogue Theatre of Manistee Manistee, MI • Images Cinema Williamstown, MA • Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre Moscow, ID • Light Industry Brooklyn, NY • The Lyric Council Blacksburg, VA • Jacob Burns Film Center Pleasantville, NY • Jane Pickens Theater & Event Center Newport, RI • Kiggins Theatre Vancouver, WA • Kimball’s Peak Three Theater Colorado Springs, CO • Lincoln Theatre Center Foundation Mount Vernon, WA • The Little Theatre Rochester, NY • Loft Cinema Tucson, AZ • Lumiere Cinema Beverly Hills, CA • The Luna Theater Lowell, MA • Maiden Alley Cinema Paducah, KY • Manlius Art Cinema Manlius, NY • Martha’s Vineyard Film Society Vineyard Haven, MA • Maysles Documentary Center New York, NY • Media Arts Center San Diego – Digital Gym Cinema San Diego, CA • The Midwest Theater Scottsbluff, NE • Milwaukee Film Milwaukee, WI • Montclair Film Festival Montclair, NJ • The Moviehouse Millerton, NY • Music Box Theatre Chicago, IL • The Nantucket Dreamland Foundation Nantucket, MA • Naro Cinema Norfolk, VA • The Neon Dayton, OH • Nightlight Cinema Akron, OH • North Park Theatre of Buffalo Buffalo, NY • Northeast Historic Film Bucksport, ME • Northwest Film Forum Seattle, WA • Old Greenbelt Theatre Greenbelt, MD • Old Town Music Hall El Segundo, CA • Olympia Film Society Olympia, WA • Osio Theater Foundation Monterey, CA • Pageant Theater Chico, CA • La Paloma Theatre Encinitas, CA • Park City Film Park City, UT • Parkway Theatre and Maryland Film Festival Baltimore, MD • Philadelphia Film Society Philadelphia, PA • Pickford Film Center Bellingham, WA • The Picture House Regional Film Center Pelham, NY • Plaza Atlanta Atlanta, GA • The Plaza Cinema and Media Arts Center Patchogue, NY • The Prospector Theater Ridgefield, CT • Provincetown Film Society Provincetown, MA • Ragtag Film Society Columbia, MO • Reel Pizza Cinerama Bar Harbor, ME • Robinson Film Center Shreveport, LA • Rose Theatre Port Townsend, WA • Rosendale Theatre Rosendale, NY • Row House Cinema Pittsburgh, PA • Roxie Theater San Francisco, CA • Roxy Theater Missoula, MT • Salem Cinema Salem, OR • Salt Lake Film Society Salt Lake City, UT • Savoy Theater Montpelier, VT • Screenland Armour Theatre North Kansas City, MO • The Screening Room Amherst, NY • Sedona International Film Festival & Mary D Fisher Theatre Sedona, AZ • Sidewalk Film Center & Cinema Birmingham, AL • SIFF Seattle, WA • Sol Cinema Cafe New York, NY • The Strand Theatre Rockland, ME • Stuart Cinema & Cafe Brooklyn, NY • Suns Cinema Washington, D.C., DC • Tampa Theatre Tampa, FL • Tropic Cinema Key West, FL • Trylon Cinema Minneapolis, MN • The Tull Family Theater Sewickley, PA • The State Theatre Modesto, CA • The Texas Theatre Dallas, TX • Upstate Films Rhinebeck, NY • The Winterset Iowa Theater Winterset, IA • Traverse City Film Festival / State and Bijou Theaters Traverse City, MI • The World Theatre Foundation Kearney, NE • Zeitgeist Theatre & Lounge Arabi, LA • Zinema 2 Duluth, MN

 

 

COVID-19 Preparedness Resources

By | Art House Advocacy, Uncategorized | No Comments

During this challenging period, art houses around the world are working together to innovate and develop film programming and education for their audiences. Art House Convergence strongly encourages film lovers to invest in their local art house now so that theaters can continue to serve them in the future. 

General
Closures and Reopening 
Administration & CARES Act
Advocate for Arts Funding and Support
Online Platforms and Solutions
Prevent the Spread of Misinformation & Racist Rhetoric
Resources for Individuals
COVID-19 Overview 
Development 
Fundraising
Member Benefits
Revenue Opportunities
Education
Bringing Education Online
Marketing
Communications
Operations
Reopening Operations
Accessibility
Human Resources & Staffing
Operations
Reduce Expenses
Programming
Reopening Programming
Virtual Cinema: FAQs
Virtual Cinema: Platforms
Virtual Cinema: Live Events 
Alternative Programming

More Resources

General Resources

Closures and Reopening

  • Theaters should always comply with public health guidelines and enhance precautions when appropriate in order to ensure the safety of staff and guests. 
  • Before reopening, identify and assemble key stakeholders and board members and establish a task force to address the ethical, legal, and financial concerns associated with reopening.
  • Consult with your insurance broker and legal representation. Identify risks associated with reopening and scope of insurance coverage. 
  • Establish regular communications with local and state departments of health.
  • Work with human resources to provide a forum for staff and front of house staff to share their thoughts and concerns about returning to work.
  • Work with communications to create a survey to assess community sentiment. IU Cinema: Reopening Survey, FilmScene: Summer 2020 Camp SurveyIndieWire: Risks and Rewards of Reopening.
  • Assess if it is possible for your theater to reopen safely. Art House Convergence: Operations AssessmentArt House Convergence: Public Health Assessment.
  • Reopening: OperationsReopening: Programming

Administration & CARES Act

    • Review updated tax provisions. Tax return filing dates have been extended to July 15, 2020 and corporate tax payments are delayed until October 15, 2020. Read more here.
    • The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
      • Resources: Small Business Owners GuideInside Charity: How Nonprofits Will Receive CARES Act Funding
      • Paycheck Protection ProgramBusinesses with under 500 employees may qualify for federally guaranteed loans to cover the cost of payroll and may be eligible for loan forgiveness equal to the amount spent on costs including payroll, rent, and utilities. Small businesses are eligible to apply if they were harmed by COVID-19 between February 15, 2020 and June 30, 2020. Starting April 3, 2020, small businesses and sole proprietorships can apply. Starting April 10, 2020, independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply.
      • Emergency Economic Injury Disaster LoansThis program provides emergency advances of up to $10,000 to small businesses and non-profits harmed by COVID-19. EIDLs are low interest loans of up to $2 million. These grants are available between January 31, 2020 and December 31, 2020. Resources: Application.
      • Small Business Debt Relief Program. This program provides relief to small businesses with non-disaster SBA loans, in particular 7(a), 504, and micro-loans. SBA will cover all payments on these loans including principal, interest, and fees for six months.
      • Employee Retention Credit. This provision provides a refundable payroll tax credit for 50% of wages paid by eligible employers to certain employees during COVID-19 crisis. The credit is available to employers, including non-profits, whose operations have been fully or partially suspended as a result of a government order limiting commerce, travel or group meetings. This credit is not available to employers receiving assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program. More information available here.
      • Delay of Payment of Employer Payroll Taxes. This provision would allow taxpayers to defer paying the employer portion of certain payroll taxes through the end of 2020, with all 2020 deferred amounts due in two equal installments, one at the end of 2021, the other at the end of 2022. Payroll taxes that can be deferred include the employer portion of FICA taxes, the employer and employee representative portion of Railroad Retirement taxes (that are attributable to the employer FICA rate), and half of SECA tax liability. This deferral is not available to employers receiving assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program.
      • Seeking support from a business counselor? Find a local resource partner here.
    • Contact your landlord or lender, renegotiate payments schedules and terms.
    • Review your insurance policy and contact your insurance provider to determine if your business interruption and liability insurance include any coverage for an outbreak in your community. Even without explicit coverage for pandemics of communicable diseases, theaters can file a claim.
    • Review existing contracts and check force majeure and cancellation clauses to ensure that they include protection during epidemics and pandemics. Communicate with your board and key stakeholders about financial risks and liability.
    • Contact you vendors and suppliers, anticipate changes in demand and respond accordingly.
    • Protect your liquidity. Assess how long you can operate during a period of temporary closure and identify expense reductions that can extend this period. Make financial plans for variable outcomes ranging from 1-12 months of potential interruptions.

Advocate for Arts Funding and Support

Online Platforms and Solutions

Prevent the Spread of Misinformation and Racist Rhetoric

  • Do not ignore racist remarks, condemn racist rhetoric and actions when they occur.
  • Do not use images or terms that reinforce negative stereotypes like “Wuhan virus.”
  • Discuss and enforce anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies with volunteers and staff.
  • Monitor social media platforms for racist behaviors.
  • Craft your own public statement. Resources are available from the Association for Asian American Studies and Asian American Journalists Association.

Resources for Individuals 

COVID-19 Overview

COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It is spread through person-to-person transmission. 

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within approximately 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.
  • Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.
  • It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the primary source of transmission.
  • Current research shows that COVID-19 is spreading “very easily and sustainably between people”.

Development

Fundraising

  • Continue to celebrate your mission. Arts and culture still matter, continue to make your unique mission central to your conversations with donors.
  • Tell your story. Explain what support will be used for and personalize your asks.
  • Every dollar counts. Encourage patrons to donate the value of their ticket instead of requesting a refund.
  • Pace yourself. Because of uncertainty about the duration of closures, roll out fundraising initiatives slowly.
  • Mobilize your Board. Encourage Board members who are able to pay dues in advance.
  • Renegotiate Grants. Request that funders re-designate restricted funds for general operating costs.

Member Benefits

  • MUBI, a curated streaming service for art house and independent films, is offering 3 months of free streaming access to your art house’s members complete with a bespoke landing page for your theater. Email knewmark(at)mubi.com for details.
  • Music Box Direct, a streaming service featuring films including Transit and Frantz, is offering one month of free streaming access to your art house’s members. Email bschultz(at)musicboxfilms.com for details.
  • Engage filmmakers, professors, and staff to host special virtual happy hours and film conversations as member benefits.

Revenue Opportunities

  • Magnolia Selects and Spotlight Cinema Networks are offering art house theaters 100% of the subscription fees when their patrons sign up for Magnolia Selects. After July 1, fees will be divided on a 50/50 split between the theater and Spotlight/ Magnolia. Read more here.
  • Facebook Boost Grants. Facebook is offering small grants to eligible businesses.
  • Gift Packages & Swag. FilmScene: Concessions Bundle, Texas Theatre: Home Cinema Survival Kits, Sidewalk Cinema: Curbside Concessions, Frida Cinema: QuaranZine, The Little Theatre: Popcorn Pass.
  • Sponsorship. Encourage sponsors to support your new initiatives and virtual programs. Offer email logo placement as a sponsor benefit.
  • Reach out to local community foundations and emergency grant programs.
  • Remain active and keep your supporters updated about progress.
  • Virtual Fundraisers. Seed&Spark:Art House Crowdfunding.

Education

Bringing Education Online

Marketing

Communications & Marketing 

Operations

Reopening Operations

  • Prior to reopening, states should carefully review federal, state, and local public health guidelines and restrictions.
  • Include a public announcement about steps your theater is taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Art House Convergence: Reopening Safely, Gina Cuomo (Denver Film), George Myers (Amherst Cinema).
  • Art House Convergence: Reopening Approaches and Questions, George Myers (Amherst Cinema), Beth Gilligan (Coolidge Corner Theatre).
  • Encourage social distancing. Lines, seating, and staffing should allow for 6 feet of between individuals.
  • Enhance cleaning efforts: prepare cleaning checklists, stagger screenings to allow more time for cleaning between shows, regularly clean surfaces and touch-points (knobs, railings, touchscreens, dispensers).
  • Work closely with staff. Develop plans around sick time and absenteeism, establish communication channels, provide training on PPE.
  • Provide personal protective equipment, including gloves, sanitizer, and masks for staff.
  • Schedule fewer screenings to avoid crowding in lobby and other common areas.
  • Discourage sick patrons from attending screenings. Offer full refunds to sick patrons.
  • Make hand sanitizer, napkins, tissues, and soap readily available to guests.
  • Make trash cans readily available for the disposal of tissues and napkins. Change trash regularly.
  • Post hand washing instructions at sinks.
  • Minimize touching customers phones, credit cards, and tickets. If possible, allow customers to swipe or insert cards themselves or make their purchases in advance.
  • Event Safety Alliance: Reopening Guide

Accessibility

Human Resources & Staffing 

  • Remain in regular communication with staff. Leadership should establish clear communications plans to help team members understand workflow and decision-making.
  • Counter stigma by disseminating accurate information about how to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Speak out against negative behaviors, and maintain employee confidentiality.
  • Establish compassionate and clearly communicated staffing protocols to account for workplace disruptions. Plan for work redistribution, flexible schedules, and increased absenteeism.
  • If staff need to perform work onsite, schedule them to avoid overlap and provide additional supplies to regularly clean workspaces (alcohol-based hand sanitizer, Clorox wipes, tissues, hands-free waste receptacles).
  • During furloughs or layoffs, assist staff with applying for unemployment.
  • Create opportunities for staff engagement like weekly check-ins or Netflix viewing parties.
  • Ensure that your sick and leave policies are consistent with public health guidelines and that staff are informed about these policies. Offer paid sick leave.
  • All employee health information is confidential, even during a crisis. Employers should not reveal the identities of infected employees.
  • In most circumstances, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employers from asking employees about health conditions. However, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) does allow for some exceptions to mitigate the negative impact of pandemics in the workplace. The EEOC recommends that employers follow CDC guidelines and has provided additional guidance about employer actions during an influenza pandemic.

Operations 

  • Carefully annotate your building closing checklist. Make sure multiple staffers have the tools and information they need for data backups, bank deposits, building security, and reopening.
  • Care for your building while closed. Download our checklist here.
  • Prepare your projectors and servers for an extended shutdown. Instructions from Boston Light & Sound are available here.
  • Arrange for at least one staff member to visit the building regularly.
  • Check concession stands for perishable items. Arrange to sell or donate items.
  • Communicate closure to distributors, Deluxe, and Cinevizion.

Reduce Expenses

  • Cancel all non-essential subscriptions, including software, advertising (print, social media, digital), concessions ordering, and shipping.
  • Adjust your thermostat.
  • Contact your landlord about rent relief. Research business eviction protections in your city or town.
  • Contact your bank or lender about mortgage or loan payment relief.

Programming

Reopening Programming

  •  Art House Convergence: Virtual BORs & Reopening Programming, Rebecca Fons (Film Scene & The Iowa Theater).
  • Reopening Programming Offers:
    • IFC Films: The Indie Theater Revival Project.
    • Paramount: Repertory titles can be developed into custom programs, or book preexisting programs through the Back to the Big Screen Program. Full list here.
    • Searchlight: Offering select titles beginning June 1 for a limited fee including Isle of Dogs and Jojo Rabbit.
    • Sony Pictures Classics: Offering select repertory titles including Only Lovers Left Alive and All About My Mother.
    • United Artists Releasing: $125 flat for select catalogue titles, $40 donated to Will Rogers Relief Fund.
    • Universal Repertory: Offering 25 themed combo drives of titles from Blumhouse, Dreamworks, Focus Features, and Illumination. Full list here.
    • Warner Bros: WB Classics Program : 5 TIERS

Virtual Cinema: FAQs

  • What are virtual cinema screenings? Virtual cinema screenings are ticketed screenings of films unavailable on any other VOD platform that viewers can enjoy from the privacy of their own home. Once a customer purchases a ticket they will receive access to a temporary film rental.
  • How can viewers enjoy a virtual screening? Audiences can buy tickets through their local art house cinema.
  • How does this support independent theaters? Virtual screenings allow theaters to keep programming films, even when their doors are closed. A portion of each ticket sale will go directly to the buyer’s local art house cinema.
  • What films are available to book? We recommend theaters contact their regular bookers and/ or distributors to stay on top of current titles available. Dear Producer list of available titles.
  • How many films should my theater book at once? We recommend theaters offer the same number of films they usually do. If you regularly book four films and have capacity to market, promote, and discuss four, then you should adhere to your established model.
  • How do we help our patrons navigate the tech? Offer a FAQ. a/perture cinema: FAQCoolidge Corner Theatre: FAQJacob Burns Film Center: Virtual FAQ.

Virtual Cinema: Platforms

Virtual Live Events (and Security)

  • Staff as you would any special program.
  • Keep your event secure. For Zoom, this means never post your link publicly, and adjust settings to make sure the host has control over the meeting.
    • Participant Video (Off)
    • Join Before Host (Off)
    • Mute Participants Upon Entry (On)
    • File Transfer (Off)
    • Screen Sharing (Off)
    • Allow removed participants to rejoin (Off).

Alternative Programming

More Resources

Last updated at 2:00 PM ET on August 17, 2020.

Visiting Members Program: Tip of the Sunshine State

By | Visiting Members Program | No Comments

The Art House Convergence Visiting Members Program provides reciprocal membership benefits to members from all of its participating theaters. Are you a devoted art house member ready for adventure? Art House Convergence is providing travel tips and resources for film aficionados ready to visit some of the United States’ best art houses.

This spring break escape the cold clutches of winter and travel down to the tip of Florida, where you’ll be able to soak up the sun while checking out four amazing art houses across three cities, a National Park, and the southernmost point of the continental US while traveling over 40 bridges and miles of beaches. While only a four hour drive, there’s enough along this famed stretch to last four days (or longer).

The Classic Gateway Theatre, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Since 1951 – The Classic Gateway Theatre has dimmed the lights for crowds of moviegoers. Featuring an eclectic mix of first run upscale and independent films, as well as the occasional mainstream hit. Audience members walk into a spacious lobby with a sit down café and the theatre’s long history gracing the walls while the smell of the world’s best popcorn engulfs you – before settling into their seats in the renovated all digital auditoriums with new reclining leather rocker seats. In addition to regular movies, the theatre hosts special events such as indie & LGBT film festivals.

The Coral Gables Art Cinema Coral Gables, FL

The Coral Gables Art Cinema is a state-of-the-art theater that opened in October of 2010 and is one of the best, most comfortable, and highest grossing art houses in South Florida, presenting first-run and regional premieres of quality American independent and international features, both fiction and documentary, in addition to classic films, special programs and film festival events, which speak to the multilingual and multicultural diversity of the region.

O Cinema Miami, FL

Located in the heart of the historic Art Deco District, O Cinema South Beach brings the best in independent, foreign and art films to South Florida audiences year-round. Located inside Historic City Hall at the corner of Washington Avenue and 12 street, the theater boasts sophisticated European-inspired design and offers affordable and engaging cultural alternatives to the nightlife of the area.

Tropic Cinema Key West, FL

The Tropic Cinema opened its doors in Old Town Key West in 2004. They had one simple idea: to bring quality movies to people who longed for something more than Hollywood blockbusters. Their artistically diverse island community deserved to see amazing independent films, international favorites and cinematic classics — film that appealed to folks who value going beyond the usual. What started as a small, two-screen nonprofit theater quickly expanded to a four-screen multiplex with state-of-the-art digital projection, an art gallery, extensive concessions, and lounge.

On the Road…

En route from Fort Lauderdale to Miami to Key West, stop off at a National Park, visit the sites (and cats!) of a literary landmark, and catch the sunset from the the lowest latitude marker of the continental United States.

The Kampong  Miami, FL

While in Miami, head to the Coconut Grove neighborhood to visit The Kampong botanical garden. Located on Biscayne Bay, The Kampong is one of five locations of the National Tropical Botanical Garden, a non-profit dedicated to tropical plant research and conservation. The garden is located on the former estate of horticulturalist David Fairchild and contains plant collections from Southeast Asia, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. Be sure to book a tour in advance.

Calle Ocho Miami, FL

Located in the heart of Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood, Calle Ocho is home to Cuban restaurants, bars,  shops, and Domino Park. Restaurants in the area include the well-known Versailles which frequently tops must-try lists and regularly attracts combination of locals and tourists, El Cristo where the menu highlights include seafood and Cuban sandwiches, and Sanguich de Miami where twists on classic sandwiches have earned the eatery the accolades of best sandwich in the city.

Everglades National Park Homestead, FL

Driving South from Miami to Key West you will pass Everglades National Park “an unparalleled landscape that provides important habitat for numerous rare and endangered species like the manatee, American crocodile, and the elusive Florida panther.”  Access this largest subtropical wilderness in the U.S. through its main entrance in Homestead, Florida. From the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center, you can drive to the Royal Palm Visitor Center to access Pine Island hiking trails or head to the Flamingo Marina for kayaking.

Florida Keys

En route to Key West you will pass through the 44 islands of the Florida Keys. Visit Indian Key Historic State Park (accessible only by boat) to kayak seagrass flats and visit 19th century ruins,  Curry Hammock State Park for its mangrove swamps, or the picturesque beaches of Bahia Hondo State Park for swimming and kayaking. Stop throughout for fresh seafood, conch fritters, and the local classic Key Lime Pie (the area features multiple contenders for best in the U.S. including Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe)

The Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum Key West, FL

Located just half a mile from Tropic Cinema in Old Town Key West is The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum. Hemingway lived and wrote in Key West for ten years, and the home has been preserved with many of his design and decorative flourishes including 18th century furniture, tropical gardens, and in-ground swimming pool (an incredible luxury in the 1930s). While touring the property be sure to keep your eyes open for the large population of polydactyl cats.

Southernmost Point Buoy

Once you made it to Key West stop at Southernmost Point Buoy, the southernmost point of the continental U.S. and the perfect place to catch your breath and maybe a sunset.

TIFF ’19: Art House Convergence Joins the Conversation

By | Art House Advocacy | No Comments

At TIFF 2019 Art House Convergence Managing Director Alison Kozberg and Programming Track Head Sarah-Tai Black joined conversations at the Industry Conference about the theatrical experience and decolonizing the screen.

The Big Screen: Have Rumors of My Demise Been Greatly Exaggerated?

A panel of industry experts will debate the state of the cinematic experience, discuss industry and audience trends, as well as discuss the new opportunities that today’s marketplace offers.

Alison Kozberg leads Art House Convergence, a North American association for art house cinemas that provides resources and networking opportunities to hundreds of cinema exhibitors each year through its conferences and events. Kozberg was previously director of the Nickelodeon Theatre, where she ran cinema programming and operations. She has also led symposia and special events for a wide range of theatres and museums.

Anick Poirier is co-president at WaZabi Films, licensing quality art-house with crossover potential feature films worldwide. WaZabi Films, a division of DATSIT Sphere Inc., represents Cannes Official Selections Matthias et Maxime (19) and A Brother’s Love (19), to name a few. Poirier was previously senior vice-president for Seville International, eOne’s boutique sales outfits

Matthew Ball is a two-time digital media executive. From 2016 to 2018, he served the global head of strategy for Amazon Studios, and prior to that was a director at the Chernin Group, a digital media investment company founded by long-time Newscorp COO and 20th Century Fox CEO Peter Chernin. Today, he is a venture capitalist focused primarily on interactive media.

Eli Glasner is an arts reporter and film critic with CBC. Each Friday, his reviews can be heard on CBC News Network, as well as his weekly appearances on many local radio shows

Engage @ TIFF: Pan-Africanism in the Caribbean & Decolonizing the Screen

This session focuses on the overlapping yet distinct notions of post-colonialism, pan-Africanism, and the diasporas of the Caribbean, and how they can engage in and maintain a filmic conversation with the African continent. Speakers include Jason Fitzroy Jeffers, Co–Executive Director of Third Horizon, and host Claire Diao, film critic and co-founder of the pan-African film journal Awotélé.


Co-programmed with Engage, a series of panels and think tanks engaged in pertinent, challenging, and multi-faceted questions facing the African film industry now.

Sarah-Tai Black is a film programmer, arts curator, and writer living in Toronto. She is the programming coordinator at Images Festival and has worked as a member of TIFF’s festival programming team. She is also one of the directors of the Royal Cinema, where she programs a monthly series called Black Gold.

Jason Fitzroy Jeffers is a Barbadian filmmaker, writer and co-executive director of the Miami-based Caribbean filmmaking and arts collective Third Horizon. Its annual Third Horizon Film Festival celebrates and empowers the new creatives emerging from the region.

Claire Diao is a French and Burkinabè journalist and film critic. She founded in 2013 the Quartiers Lointains short film touring program, co-founded in 2015 the pan-African film critic magazine Awotele, and has been the CEO of Sudu Connexion since 2016. Her essay, “Double Vague, le nouveau souffle du cinéma français,” was published by Au Diable Vauvert in 2017. She is also a host of the TV talk show Ciné Le Mag on Canal+, Une dose de ciné on France O, and takes part in Le Cercle on Canal+. Diao received the 2018 Beaumarchais Medal from the Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques.

Renee Robinson is the film commissioner of Jamaica and a multilingual creative economy strategist and thought leader. She has two decades of management experience within the verticals of film, television, digital entertainment, and communications, in Canada, Europe, the US, South Africa, and the Caribbean. She holds a master’s in communications and culture with a specialization in the management of telecom innovation, with joint coursework in the MBA in arts management, from York University, and a bachelor’s in art studio and art history from Williams College.

Roxy_Theater

Around the Art House: National Parks, Volume 1 – Northwest

By | Around the Art House | No Comments

Andy Brodie

Adventurous movie lovers trekking to our treasured national parks can trade big skies for big screens with trips to nearby art house gems. In National Parks, Volume 1, we focus our lens on the Northwest with three art house-national park pairings.

Yellowstone National Park, WY + Art House Cinema and Pub, Billings, MT

 

babcock_billings

Approximately four hours away from Yellowstone, the United States’ first national park, is Billings, Montana, home to the Art House Cinema and Pub.

Driving from Billings you will be able to easily access the park’s North Entrance (90-W to 89-S) or East Entrance (90-W to 310-E to 120-E to Highway 20). Use the North Entrance to visit Mammoth Hot Springs and enjoy the Boiling River thermal soaking area. Use the East Entrance to visit Yellowstone Lake, formed by volcanic eruptions, and the Hayden and Pelican Valleys.

Art House Cinema and Pub was established as a non-profit by Billings native Matt Blakeslee, who worked with local architects to convert an old downtown bowling alley into a single-screen cinema with room for future expansion. Serving craft beers on tap and specialty sodas alongside art house new releases and select rep screenings, Art House Cinema and Pub is the perfect place to relax before or after your Yellowstone expedition.

Opened in 2015, Art House’s first house seats 80 and features at least two new release films each week plus special events. Having been quickly embraced by the Billings community, Art House is also fundraising to support plans for two additional screens, more space for food and drink, plus new programs to support education and community engagement.

In addition to their dedicated home, Art House manages The Babcock Theatre, a 750-seat historic theatre built in downtown Billings in 1907. The Babcock has had a storied history, with the latest chapter starting in 2018 when the City of Billings purchased the property and awarded stewardship to the Art House organization.

Glacier National Park, MT + The Roxy Theater,  Missoula, MT

 

In Montana, hiker’s paradise Glacier National Park sits 3 hours north of The Roxy Theater in Missoula, MT.

The site of over 700 trails, alpine forests, and over 130 lakes, Glacier National Park is a stunning destination for camping, hiking, and nature photography. Driving north from Missoula (93-N to US-2) will take you to West Glacier and the West Lake and Apgar Ranger Stations adjacent to Lake McDonald — a lake created by glacial carving.

The college town of Missoula will offer the perfect beginning or end to a visit to Glacier National Park, and the Roxy is located in the heart of downtown. Sitting beneath a terrific art deco marquee, The Roxy has fully embraced its natural surroundings, with a mission “to inspire, educate and engage diverse audiences about the natural and human worlds through cinematic and cultural events.” In addition to year-round programming featuring new releases and classic films, the Roxy also hosts two annual film festivals: International Wildlife Film Festival (IWFF) and the Montana Film Festival.

The Roxy originally opened in 1937 and operated until 1994 when a fire destroyed the theater. Having started in 1977 at the University of Montana, IWFF purchased the building to make the Roxy its home. The re-birthed Roxy launched year-round programming in 2013 and now features three screens with both state-of-the-art digital cinema and 35mm film projection.

Olympic National Park, WA + Rose Theatre, Port Townsend, WA

 

rose2_porttownsend

Located on the coast of Washington sits Olympic National Park, a lush, coastal wilderness. The park is just one hour west of the small city of Port Townsend, the site of Victorian Seaport architecture and the Rose Theatre.

To access Olympic National Park from Port Townsend head west (20-W to 101-W) and to gain direct access to the Olympic National Park Visitor Center and Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center.  Hurricane Ridge is the most accessible mountain area in the park, from there you can access campgrounds at Deer Park and in the Elwha Valley. Before your visit, check for road closures and restoration projects and to learn about the park’s other incredible ecosystems: subalpine forest and wildflower meadow, temperate forest, and the rugged Pacific coast.

The beautiful Port Townsend offers a perfect addition to the trip — visit the downtown waterfront, cafes and restaurants before heading to a screening at the Rose Theatre.

Opened as a vaudeville house in 1907, the Rose followed a similar route of many live theaters, eventually transitioning to film. The Rose has screened films from the silent era to the talkies to being Port Townsend’s treasured art house home today, with three screens, local beers on tap, and each show personally introduced by a Rose host.

Andy Brodie is a writer and film worker based in Brooklyn, New York. An Iowa native, he co-founded both FilmScene in Iowa City, and the Des Moines Film Society. He is also founder and programmer of Short Order, a short film series presented with Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.

Countering Xenophobia as an Art House

By | Art House Advocacy | No Comments

Art house cinemas have been the beneficiaries of foreign-language films for over seventy years. Racism and xenophobia threaten our core values and are irreconcilable with our priorities of culture and community.

At its inception, the art house movement provided a forum for empathy and understanding, exposing American audiences to perspectives and experiences from around the world.* On February 25, 1946, a subtitled print of Roberto Rossellini’s Rome Open City (Roma, cittá aperta) debuted at the World Theatre in New York, initiating a record-breaking twenty-one month run that presaged the ascendance of a vibrant U.S. art film market anchored by the exhibition of foreign films. 

Rome Open City was applauded by critics around the world for its moving depiction of the struggle to resist fascism during the Nazi occupation of Rome. One of its most memorable and heartbreaking scenes is of a forced family separation — made all the more painful by its contemporary relevance. 

As exhibitors we have the privilege to share artworks of complexity, artistry, and empathy, and to amplify voices that are too often unheard in our communities. We have the opportunity to host conversations and cultivate common ground instead of cruel division. We have influence, and with that, responsibility.

We have a responsibility to denounce racist rhetoric and actions, to develop programming in solidarity with people when they are vulnerable, to provide a forum for a global community of filmmakers, and to reject efforts to cast hate-speech and discrimination as merely “racially-charged” or alternative points of view.

During recent weeks U.S. government officials have forcibly separated families and detained immigrants and refugees in unsanitary and unsafe facilities. They have used racist rhetoric to justify these actions and in attempts to silence dissent, sow hatred, and provoke violence.

We can respond to this by elevating our art houses as spaces of healing and collaboration. We have the opportunity to program films from around the world to celebrate the creativity and perspectives of filmmakers of diverse races, ethnicities, religions, genders, and nationalities.

I am inspired by art houses’ devotion to their communities and know that we will combat vitriol and discord with art, dialogue, and critical discourse bolstered by ethical clarity and conviction

Sincerely,
Alison Kozberg
Managing Director
Art House Convergence

* Though foreign-language films screened in the United States prior to World War II, the number of art house exhibitors, volume of foreign-language film exhibition, and the general public’s awareness of art cinemas increased substantially after the war. For histories of the post-war art house movement consult Tino Balio, The Foreign Film Renaissance on American Screens 1946 – 1973 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2010) and Barbara Wilinsky, Sure Seaters: The Emergence of Art House Cinema. (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001).