Recall Jackson Browne’s 1977 song The Load Out: “We do so many shows in a row
And these towns all look the same.”
The last line underscores why many Athenians want to save unique places like Ciné – the only nonprofit cinema and arts venue in northeast Georgia. It contributes to making Athens different and provides a special sense of community.
Founded in 2007, Ciné presents independent, foreign, documentary and classic films. But it’s so much more. It also serves as an art gallery, a music and performance space, and a gathering site for cultural and academic organizations. A year ago, the Athens Film Arts Institute (AFAI), which supports and manages Ciné, began a three-year, $2.5 million capital campaign to purchase, maintain, and improve the facilities. The looming problem is AFAI has only a brief opportunity to keep its exclusive right to purchase the building through June 30. After that, it will be offered for sale on the open market, and the location at 234 W. Hancock is highly desirable, prime real estate.
Ciné is close to being able to secure the $1.5 million mortgage loan but they must have $150,000 in cash reserves to show solvency to the bank. To that end, they’ve launched a Crowdfunding Campaign: “Let’s Buy Ciné! Help Save Athens’ Only Art House Cinema!”
“There are various ways to support the effort by donating online at www.athenscine.com,” explains Pamela Kohn, executive director. “More creatively, buy a seat for $150. Theatre 1 seats have already sold, but there are still seats available in Theatre 2.” Anyone who buys a seat or seats will get a plaque on one of them. Isn’t there someone you know or knew who was a real movie buff? Immortalize them at Ciné. The theater’s two screening rooms seat a total of 232.
Kohn adds that another way to support Ciné is to buy a membership: “Memberships are available at different levels, with such benefits as screening passes, free popcorn, and free parking. All members receive the benefit of discounted Member Nights which are held each Tuesday evening. It’s a chance to gather and see a movie for reduced price.”
Avid movie fan and Ciné supporter, Rebecca Silver notes, “I cannot imagine Athens without Ciné. Movies you can’t see anywhere else are shown here. It really serves our town and reflects the artistic and creative nature of our city.” Or, as longtime supporter, Gary Crider, adds, “My quality-of-life index would drop significantly if Ciné was lost.”
Film buff Kent Silver points out, “Ciné is a great meeting place for people of all ages.”
Campaign Hashtag: #LetsBuyCine
The AFAI Volunteer Board of Directors: President: Ruta Abolins, Treasurer: Mary Lillie Watson, Secretary: Myung Chang Cogan, and board members: Greg Barnard, Cassie Bryant, Brian Carney, Todd Kelly, Karen Kenyon, Mike Landers, Dave Marr, Carl Martin, Richard Neupert, Peter Smith, Susanne Warrenfeltz, Mark Weathersby