Fight for 35mm: An Interview with Julia Marchese

In November 2011, thousands of people from around the world began to sign and share the Fight for 35mm Petition.

Seven months and 10,753 signatures later, Julia Marchese had enough support to crowdfund and produce Out of Print, an exciting documentary that presents the case for retaining the art, craft, and unique experience of 35mm motion picture presentation.

In this exclusive interview, Julia shares her passion for repertory cinema, reflects on the petition, and discusses the filming of Out of Print.

Julia Marchese Directing "Out of Print"

FATF: How did you become interested in film and in repertory cinema?

JM: I’ve always been a movie fan. I was a drama major, film minor in college – it was study of film, not film production – and I adored it. I moved to Los Angeles in 2001, found a New Beverly calendar and I just immediately knew that it was the place I had to work. I went there and asked for a job the first time I went, and every time I went back for five years until they finally caved and gave me a job! That was in 2006, and I’ve worked there ever since. Something about it is magic to me.

Why is repertory cinema important to you personally?

I think it’s really important to keep community of cinema alive, because if you go to a multiplex, all you do is you go in and watch a movie, and you go home and you’re not interacting with anybody.

But the New Beverly and other repertory cinemas offer an experience for people who are like-minded and want to talk about these things, and it becomes something more than just watching a film. I think that’s really important, and I think if you lose that, it’s going to be losing a really important part of cinema, which is discussion – because talking about movies is almost as fun as watching them. I think that you’re also going to be losing independently-owned places – the New Beverly is not a chain, we’re just a family-owned place. I think it’s so important to keep these places around.

Something that a lot of directors that I interviewed for Out of Print said – and I think this is really interesting – is that repertory cinemas are where they went when they were young and that’s really where they learned about film. They saw films projected in a cinema with an audience and that experience is what made them want to direct. If you take that away, what happens to the future generations of filmmakers? You could watch whatever on your computer, but that’s not going to give you the same feeling as if you saw Casablanca at a theatre surrounded by people who are oohing and aahing and crying and laughing; the group audience experience is so important to watching a film.

Can you describe the role of film projection in this?

Film projectionists are such unsung heroes, because you don’t notice them if they do their job correctly. You only notice the projectionist when the sound goes out, or the picture goes out of focus, or there’s a reel change; but if they do their job perfectly, you won’t even know they’re there. I think that’s why people are so flippant and think, “Oh well it doesn’t matter, we’ll just change to digital” – well actually there’s an artform to it, there’s people who are very, very into film and who are really careful about making sure your experience is great, and they’re getting no reward for it…and now they’re just getting fired. It’s very sad that you have this group of people who should be lauded, and they’re getting the short end of the stick. If you’ve ever been in a projection booth you’ll know that they’re running around the entire time the film’s playing – they’re making sure that everything’s OK, they’re getting the next reel ready, making sure it’s in focus – it’s a really stressful job. I think that because people don’t see them, they don’t realize how hard projectionists work.

By May 2012, 10,753 people from around the world had signed your Fight for 35mm petition. Why do you think so many people responded so passionately?

The petition started when we got a letter from one of the studios saying that in 2012 they intended to stop making new 35mm prints. That made me nervous, because I knew that eventually that would trickle down to repertory cinema. I had to stand up and say, “Hey, just to let you guys know this is happening, and we should be doing something about it”.

I think it just got the dialogue started. And because nobody had known this was even coming, it kind of came out of nowhere and blind-sided everybody. 35mm is really important; you can’t just take it away – it’s something that everybody should have a say in. I was so incredibly amazed that so many people signed it, and that it got so much press coverage, and everybody started to realize this was happening. The goal of the petition was to just get the word out, and it really did. And that’s what kind of led to Out of Print, because I realized that there are so many people out there who really care about this subject. I thought – how can I reach a broader audience? How can I really show people how important repertory cinema is? That’s why I focused on the New Beverly, but also broadened the scope to repertory cinemas in general because you should be supporting your local theatre – you’re going to really miss it if it goes.

Can you tell us about your documentary, Out of Print – how did it come about, and what were your experiences making it?

This is my first film, and honestly it could not have been a better experience. I raised the money through Kickstarter, and we raised $80,000 in 30 days. I was so amazed by the support and loyalty. I’d never dreamed that I would be able to film on 35mm, but then I got talking to Panavision, and started talking to Kodak, and told them what the film was about, and they were very, very generous and gave us a camera package, and film. Being able to shoot on 35mm was incredible, and there’s a split-screen sequence in the film where we actually show digital and 35mm side by side, because I don’t think people can know what the difference is – but then when you look at it side by side you go, “Oh OK, well I can see that now”. But filming was fantastic – I got to interview so many of my heroes – Mark Romanek, Edgar Wright, Joe Dante, Stuart Gordon, Joe Carnahan, Patton Oswalt – all these guys who I’ve looked up to, and are people who love the New Beverly, and also love film and want to fight for it. So doing that was amazing, and then getting to go and edit the film, and then do all of the sound, and all of these things – it’s been incredibly educational and really fun, and I really enjoyed the experience.

What would you like the film to accomplish?

I’m in a weird place right now because the film’s finished, and I’ve submitted it to festivals and am waiting to hear back – so I’m in that weird limbo of waiting and being on pins and needles, but I just hope that the film does well because I want it to prove to people that independent, single-screen theatres are important. And people who have watched the film so far have come out saying, “This makes me want to go to the New Beverly, and this makes me want to go to my cinema”. That makes me so happy, because that was the goal of the film – to make folks realize that they have these cultural gems in their towns that they’re probably not supporting like they should be. Single screen theatres are struggling as it is, because they’re having to compete with the multiplex and everything. So if this can drive just a little bit more business their way then I’ve done my job.

A strong theme in the film is to retain access to 35mm projection. If one were to try to curtail that, then it actually limits what you can show, among many other things.

Every time you switch to a different format you lose titles. They didn’t transfer everything from VHS to DVD, or DVD to Blu-Ray, and so everything from 35mm is certainly not going to go to digital. And so you’re going to get smaller and smaller percentages of films available to view.

Another theme is choice. Do you think people understand that they have a choice, and should have a choice, in how they experience films at the theatre, despite a prevailing narrative that clearly tries hard to persuade them otherwise?

I don’t think as many people realize they have a choice, that they can voice their preferences to their local cinema and help their local theaters keep their 35mm projectors. But that’s kind of the goal of the film – to let people know that they do, indeed, have a choice.

What’s the difference in visual information that you see with 35mm? Returning to the split-screen comparison in Out of Print – how would you describe it?

I feel that there is a depth and life to 35mm that digital lacks. Digital feels very flat to me – whereas film feels rounded and full. And I enjoy the imperfections in 35mm – the faded prints, the scratches and cue marks – they make you realize that the film is an actual physical object that can be damaged, and that it has gone through hundreds of human hands and projectors – it’s a really wonderful feeling.

How have people reacted to the film? What’s changed for you and the New Beverly Cinema since the petition and the making of Out of Print?

The reactions to Out of Print so far have been really positive – something that I guess I didn’t realize until I finished the film was that anybody who watches Out of Print will get a glimpse of who I am – because it’s very groovy, and there’s a lot of fun colors and things – I use a lot of old drive-in snipes. I put my personality into the film and that’s something that’s been fun to watch people react to. I think people aren’t expecting it to hit all the bases but there’s sad bits in it, and there’s funny stuff, and there’s educational stuff – I tried to really make it hit every point that I wanted to make…and not make it overwhelming of course!

I don’t know how it’s affected the New Beverly – I think that if it does well it will certainly make a difference. The way festivals work is they want to premiere your film – so you’re not hitting screens beforehand. Not a lot of people have seen it yet – it’s basically my friends and family, and that’s it. So I’m interested to see what the reaction is with a big audience.

Do you think there needs to be more and better quality education about film – that is, the medium; the material?

Of course – the more people that know what’s happening, the better chance we have of keeping 35mm around. And I make this comparison in the film – if you take another medium and say, “Books are only now going to be on your Kindle, or your Nook – you cannot get printed books anymore” – people would freak! This is very similar, because there’s no more physical film. You can’t own a print – it becomes this ephemeral thing where you don’t understand how it works – but it’s very important to have this tangible object that’s not just a button on a hard drive.

Out of Print has been submitted for screening at a number of upcoming festivals

Fight for 35mm Petition

Out of Print website

Photo courtesy Julia Marchese

> PDF Version of this Article

UNESCO World Day for Audiovisual Heritage: Choices & Rights

“Saving Our Heritage for the Next Generation”
is the slogan of this year’s celebration of the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage (27 October). The world’s audiovisual heritage of sound recordings and moving images are extremely vulnerable as a result of factors ranging from neglect, natural decay to technological obsolescence, as well as deliberate destruction. Consequently, UNESCO has made it part of its mission to raise public consciousness of the importance of preservation of these recordings through the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage.

(From UNESCO World Day for Audiovisual Heritage)

It is of the utmost importance that filmmakers around the world continue to have the ability to choose the mediums and technologies that best support the preservation of their works into the future. Well-tested and proven technologies that facilitate this goal must continue to remain available.

UNESCO World Day for Audiovisual Heritage on October 27th, 2013 is an opportune time to highlight the critical importance of maintaining choice in how audiovisual works are preserved and presented, framed in terms relevant to the artistic rights of filmmakers.

Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 guarantees the Right to Freedom of Expression for all and underpins the right of filmmakers to choose the mediums by which they communicate their ideas through their works. This extends from production and postproduction, through exhibition and into preservation.

Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

It follows that attempts to limit choice of medium, to restrict diversity, and to narrow options in this area are not only culturally damaging and unjust – they contravene fundamental human rights.

UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity 2001

UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage 2003

UNESCO Convention On The Protection And Promotion Of The Diversity Of Cultural Expressions 2005

UN Photo / Elspeth MacDougall

> PDF Version of this Article

Motion Picture Film, World Heritage and Freedom of Expression

World Day for Audiovisual HeritageThe General Assembly of the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF) has recently voted, by a large majority, to support the efforts being made by Cinematographer Guillermo Navarro and Artist Tacita Dean to have Film (both Still and Motion Picture) accorded UNESCO World Heritage status.

Renowned in their respective fields, Navarro and Dean have been working over the last number of years to protect the medium of Film in the face of increasing proliferation of electronic imaging and projection technologies. Together with a number of eminent colleagues, they are promoting awareness of the unique character of Film and its critical role in cultural diversity and freedom of artistic expression, past, present, and future.

Over the past century, film has changed humankind. From the earliest fragments of captured movement, it has allowed us to see ourselves, document ourselves and invent ourselves using just the mechanics of light, lenses and chemistry. Film and photography are our cultural and historical memory. They hold in their emulsion the imprint of time: how we have lived, worked and created in communities across the world, for as a means of depiction, film belonged to everyone. It was our universal language, and despite a century divided by conflict, everyone could still gather together to share the imagery and emotion created by film.

Now, with the invention of the digital process, the medium of film as an irreplaceable artistic language is gravely threatened and will, unless action is taken, simply disappear.

We cannot allow this to happen. Film is too wondrous and unique an invention to be forfeited for the sake of short-term economic gain. Just as one would not think of simply scanning a medieval manuscript before dispensing with the original, or hanging a postcard in a museum in lieu of a prized oil painting, film has its own particular inherent beauty and is not simply replaceable as a medium by digital technology. Its obsolescence will result in irretrievable losses in all that we may no longer be able to see and experience, and in what we will no longer be able to make, because we will have forfeited the technology and knowledge to do so.

Many in the cinema industry and in the art, museum and archive communities are reaching the consensus that such cultural irresponsibility and short-sightedness cannot be allowed to take place in what is seen as a critical moment in film’s survival. We are therefore coming together as a body to petition UNESCO to protect the medium of film as a World Heritage so that future generations will be able to experience film as we have done.

(Extract from Statement issued by Guillermo Navarro, Tacita Dean and a number of eminent Colleagues in London in February 2012. Full text available from the website of IMAGO, the European Federation of Cinematographers)

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has among its core purposes the fostering of Freedom of Expression and Protection of Heritage in accordance with the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948.

UNESCO – Fostering Freedom of Expression

UNESCO – Protecting our Heritage and Fostering Creativity

UNESCO World Day for Audiovisual Heritage

UN Photo / Ryan Brown

> PDF Version of this Article

MONO NO AWARE: A Conversation with Steve Cossman

MNA_workshop flier

Amid the chaotic buzz of commercial transactions at a downtown grocery, MONO NO AWARE’s Steve Cossman took a rare free moment to speak with Tara D. Kelley about the organization’s history, current trajectory, and that whole ‘future of film’ thing. With MONO NO AWARE VII, an astonishing slate of fall workshops, and the collective’s low-cost film equipment rental program all swiftly approaching, this is a very exciting time to engage with film and with MONO NO AWARE.

MONO NO AWARE (‘moh-no no ah-wah-ray’): people will ask, “what does that mean and why did the collective choose this name?”

MONO NO AWARE began as a solo effort and naturally grew into a collective organization. I moved to New York in 2006, I had just returned from film school and I was looking for a way to engage with the local film community. I spent 2 years in Prague studying film production with a focus on stop-motion puppet animation. While there, I was re-introduced to avant-garde, experimental cinema, and various forms of the moving image throughout history. Previously, I had taken a few film courses, but my background was primarily in sculpture: I had done metalwork for years. It was my experience in Prague which pushed my practice and thinking towards time-based art.

I thought a good way for me to get engaged with the community would be to organize some sort of exhibition or festival. I had seen a lot of festivals – thousands of festivals, actually – listed everywhere for every genre and subgenre and micro-genre – on T-shirts, tote bags, and posters. I set out to do something that was unique and meaningful. I wanted to focus on what drew me to cinema in the first place.You know, that gathering of strangers sharing this common experience; responding orally, laughing together, or being in shock. There is a kind of magic that happens there that I felt was missing with previous gallery exhibitions. I really wanted to do something where it was about that gathering, where the emphasis was on that cinematic experience. So, the initial idea for MONO NO AWARE, the exhibition, was: expanded cinema performance, with projected film prints only, to kind of over-emphasize that idea of the artist being present, the audience being present, and the work being a one-time experience…

…which kind of leads into the concept of Mono no aware, the Japanese expression having to do with this emotional connection with something that’s fleeting and this attraction to the ephemeral.  The environment created by expanded cinema performance, or even by an installation which has that moving image element, is kind of this temporal experience. The group of people that you share it with is unique in that sense, too, so… It seemed to fit the event.

MONO NO AWARE started with just me organizing the festival the first three years. From there, with the help of friends, it’s built into a dynamic arts organization with educational initiatives, monthly screenings and everything that it’s become today.

Did that start organically from the first experiences at the festival? Were people approaching you afterward, or did you approach other filmmakers to become involved and contribute?

I had never run a festival –  I had really never run a business before –  and I went about this very systematically. I called universities with film departments that were still shooting on film. I spoke with the head of each department and said, “Hello there, this is what I’m trying to do. If you have students or colleagues interested, please let me know.” I wrote letters with a call for entries to museums that I knew had a history of showing this kind of work, or who had a good relationship with their own local film community.

Thankfully, people responded very positively. Actually, I was very nervous the first year. I thought no one was going to show up! It turned out the event was over capacity on a Sunday night at the old Galapagos Art Space on North 6th.  At the end of the night, someone said to me “this was so great, you really need to do it again.” Originally I had thought I was just going to do it once, but it became ‘a thing’.

After about three years of organizing the festival, that’s when a community began to form.  People were starting to ask more questions, wanting to get involved.  Initially, workshops were offered out of my living room, using my bathroom as a darkroom and we had 30 participants.  Now we see 200 participants in a year and that number keeps growing.

I want to make sure people are enrolling for workshops and making you even more busy. What’s coming up that you’re super excited about?

What I’m excited about are all the workshops we’re offering this fall. Handmade Emulsion Workshop: making your own emulsion. We’ll be offering the Alternative Processing Techniques Workshop again, which is incredibly interesting: mixing your own chemistry, learning about tinting and toning, doing E6, C41, D19, the whole range of developers. Also, we’ll be offering Super 8 on Color Reversal [Film], Kodak’s Ektachrome 100D. We have some of the last stock, so I’m super excited to have the students shoot on color reversal and project on color reversal Super 8. And, you know, the 100D is just beautiful projected.

Also, on September 7th, we’ll be taking a field trip to the Thomas Edison Museum to see the replica of the Black Maria. I’m excited about the whole thing: I’ve rented a yellow school bus and we’ve got bagged lunches set up with Urban Rustic. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun!

Then our call for [MONO NO AWARE VII] entries, the deadline is October 31st. We’ve already got almost fifty entries at this point, which is so early for us to have this much. We’re seeing a lot of work coming out of Mexico and South America, which is super exciting. We are getting stuff from France, and a couple entries from Korea. It’s thrilling to receive a lot more international entries, and the range of work is really starting to diversify from expanded cinema to truly what we’d like it to be, which is; the moving image on film in any shape or form of art, performance and sculpture.

When I hear that people are submitting work from Mexico and South America and Korea and France, I get excited because these are people creating film on film. So I’ll ask you – because you’re making films, you’re out there meeting other filmmakers, you’re teaching workshops and classes that seem to be filling up really quickly – what is your sense of the future of film?

I don’t know if I’m really qualified to answer that! (laughter) I’m as much in the hands of the material and the manufacturers as anybody else. I certainly can’t single-handedly change anything and as an organization we can certainly make a small dent in sales for these companies, but we really can’t start a revolution – we need to work together. It’s a strange situation, because if they stop making oils, painters use acryllic or guache or mix berries if they are desperate. They have options. But, in the case of working on film, if Kodak stops making film, there are very few other people making it. That’s why we’re really, really excited about our partnership with ORWO. They’ve been extremely supportive and seem to understand that film is a special material, that it’s not just a product. There is a community behind it and there is something special and unique and worth preserving about this medium – and, that there are makers who are dedicated and who are loyal to it.

The future of film is uncertain. I have a sense of why people are excited about it again, which I think – might be attributed to so many things becoming automatic. There are filters and applications that, at the push of a button, create a sepia tone effect or a solarizing effect or anime-eyes effect – but it’s all binary and the results are still encoded. There’s no room for accidents and experimentation, and there’s no room for things to be out of control. It’s kind of this idea of losing the sense of wilderness. Forests and jungles becoming smaller and smaller, and we miss the unknown. For me, it’s something innate that I’m drawn to the chaos in nature. I mean, I don’t want to say ‘I love chaos’ — but it’s good when things are a little bit out of control, right?

Is there anything you want to share about where MONO NO AWARE will go next?

[MONO NO AWARE Assistant Director] Sean Hanley and I have spent the last two months going through our personal and collective equipment to develop a rentals program.  There will soon be a section of the MONO NO AWARE website that will allow anyone in New York, especially our former students, to continue their practice on film with reliable, accessible, and affordable film equipment. We’ve got Super 8mm cameras, 16mm cameras, an ARRI kit, projectors and screens. We will also have Steenbecks and editing set-ups available hourly, film stocks and editing supplies. I want to say this will be ready in October, but don’t hold me to that! (laughter) By the end of the year, we’ll have a full service rentals program.

My goal for 2014 is to have a week-long filmmaking retreat. I’m scouting spaces in upstate New York, Long Island, Pennsylvania and Canada to set up a base-camp for workshops and screenings; an escape from New York with the opportunity to totally separate oneself from the busy city life to focus on creating work on film.  MONO NO AWARE is lucky enough to have local workshop participants give us two hours a night, three or four nights in a month, and we’re always blown away by the incredible work they make. As we improve on the workshop experience the films made in them grows in tandem.  I’d really like to take our local offerings to another level with this retreat – foster and develop skills, giving participants the chance to experiment and think about form/content. Again, always continuing to make it affordable.

Also, this year I had the fortunate experience of meeting a very curious and extremely talented nine-year-old* – If I can find the time I would like to engage more with the younger audience. I feel like people who take our workshops are familiar with the formats and the technology and even though for some of the younger participants it may seem antiquated or have this certain nostalgic appeal, for the younger people, it’s not even on the radar.

They don’t have the history.

They don’t have the history, only because their exposure has been limited. One of my first jobs out of college was teaching art at a Montessori school and I think that it would be great to work with children to show them what it means to have that film experience. I welcome the chance to educate and share with them that film is still an option if they have interest in the moving image.

Sometimes I’ll be shooting with my Bolex, and people will say “Those things are so hard to find!” or “Too bad you can’t get projectors anymore” or “The parts are going to be harder to come by, and soon you’re not going to be able to shoot anymore.”  So much of which is a misconception, it’s no wonder film is foreign to so many children and young adults. I feel like we’re at a point where the common person believes that digital and technologies have replaced analog machinery all together. My response to that is, ‘Have you seen what a 3D printer can do?’ At some point, I’m going to be able to 3D scan my entire Bolex and print out a Bolex then shoot film with it!  I can replicate almost any EIKI part I need, I’m going to be able to build an optical printer in Rhino. I’ll be able to build custom gates and trick it out in any way I want. I think certain advancements in technology make it possible to sustain analog practices and improve upon them.

It hasn’t come to that point just yet. Right now, film equipment is more accessible than it’s ever been. So many schools and filmmakers are just unloading equipment. They’re either giving it away or selling it cheap – happy to see it put to ‘good use’.  If, twenty years ago, you wanted to shoot on film you’d have a hard time affording to rent a camera, and certainly you wouldn’t buy one. Now, you might fall into one for less than a grand or possibly free.  Equipment is collecting dust on closets and shelves, all you need is some simple maintenance to get it running again. How are you going to say that it’s difficult, or more expensive, to shoot on film when someone hands you a camera for free?

In your case, it’s raining equipment.

(Laughter) Well, not exactly, though kind supporters are beginning to call us to donate cameras, rewinds, splicers and films.  Right now is the best time to be a filmmaker, for sure!

On that positive note: you can view student work from MONO NO AWARE workshops (*including nine-year-old Shane Fleming’s film, “ART”) on MONO NO AWARE’s Vimeo channel.  – TDK

> PDF Version of this Article

NY Times Tips on Archiving Family History


Bertram Lyons, an archivist at the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress and Editor of the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives, offered tips to New York Times readers looking to preserve their 8mm, 16mm, and 35mm films, slides and photos. In addition to the wealth of current knowledge and resources he offers, Lyons warns readers to be proactive in preserving their originals, arguing that film is the most immediate and lasting format for preserving their family history.

“Film is a wonderful medium because it does not hide its encoded information from the naked eye. With light and a magnifying glass, a human does not need a machine to interpret the images captured on the film. Many other recorded media, especially video, analog audio formats and any digital formats, require an intermediary machine for human consumption. My point here is that you should be thinking about both physical preservation and reformatting. Sure, you will want viewable copies of your films for now and the future, but you will also want to think about the best methods for preserving the physical film for the future as well.”

The complete article can be found here.

Theater of the Week: Bijou Art Cinemas

For 30 years The Bijou Art Cinemas has been bringing the finest foreign, independent and classic cinema to the small town of Eugene. The theatre saw great success in the 80’s and 90’s as more and more indie films were thrust into the mainstream. The mid 00’s brought the absorption of marketable “alternative” titles by large theater chains. This combined with the inception of on-demand home video began to chip away at the art house cinema market. Revenues declined, the Bijou’s founder, Michael LaMont passed away, and things were not looking good for the small theater. After two grim years, the current management (all Bijou employees) bought the business from LaMont’s estate and nursed it back to health.

The Bijou is truly a labor of love for managers Edward Schiessl, Louise Thomas and Jamie Hosler. Their devotion to film and cinema has revitalized one of Eugene’s most beloved and valuable local businesses. Converted from a funeral home built in the 1920’s, the auditoriums exude a character as unique as the films that are played in them. The smell of brewer’s yeast, popcorn and candy hovers in the air as light spills in through the many stain glass windows. Familiars chat in the lobby, and the staff are always ready to share their opinions about the current films. It is, quite bluntly, a cinema run by true film nerds, but not the snobby type. In addition to playing movies, The Bijou is also very active in the community, working with local non-profits, student groups, departments at the U of O, film societies and area businesses all around Eugene.

The Bijou is working on their much-anticipated expansion into downtown Eugene with The Bijou Metro. Seating capacity for each auditorium at the new location is currently estimated between 20 and 40 seats. Each auditorium will be outfitted with state-of-the-art digital presentation systems, and the two larger auditoriums will also be capable of showing archival 16mm & 35mm film prints to maximize the ability to collaborate with film festivals and University programming.  Limited gourmet food and espresso will be available in the lobby along with their traditional concessions menu, as well as additional food and/or beverages from the adjacent beer & wine bar, whose lounge space will also be accessible from within our building.

Currently, The Bijou is running a Kickstarter Campaign to raise money to switch to digital projectors for the new theater. The grim reality is that film will be phased out by the end of this year. This means that independent theaters like The Bijou must make the switch, and it is not cheap. Eugenians have been incredibly supportive over the years, and their love for The Bijou still stands today, serving as a stark indicator of how the small, quirky theater has earned a special place in the heart of the community.

Click here to learn more about The Bijou’s Kickstarter.

The Bijou Theater

The Bijou


Theater of the Week: Loew’s Jersey

Loew’s Jersey. Sure, nostalgia may draw you in: the glow of marquee lights, the rumbling thrill of the ‘Wonder Morton’ organ, an entire showcase full of ephemera found under the original seats. There are enough marble columns, mosaic tile, and grand staircases to impress any picture palace fan. However, it’s the massive screen, the smooth projection, and (perhaps the major factor) the carbon arc projectors that assure your return.

Loew’s Jersey and its Journal Square neighborhood have seen hard times, but this icon of a once-prosperous metropolis has been sustained by a solid, supportive community.  Volunteers take your tickets, run the concession stand, and renovate the theater. Executive Director Colin Egan positions himself in the lobby to welcome regulars and answer questions. Meanwhile, it’s clear that the projection staff love their work: you may have seen M*A*S*H on 35mm, but it’s rarely looked – or felt – this good.


Loew's Jersey, carbon arc projection

Loew’s Jersey, carbon arc projection

Loew's Jersey projectionist with his "baby"

Loew’s Jersey projectionist with his “baby”

Loew's Jersey

Loew’s Jersey

Loew's Jersey, original Vitaphone disc storage cabinet

Loew’s Jersey, original Vitaphone disc storage cabinet

Loew's Jersey carbons

Loew’s Jersey carbons

Loew's Jersey, carbons taking a break after a workout screening a gorgeous print of M*A*S*H

Loew’s Jersey, carbons taking a break after a workout screening a gorgeous print of M*A*S*H

Send Us Your Cinemas!



The Film Advocacy Task Force is dedicated to ensuring the continued survival and public exhibition of film materials… but we need your help!

There are simply too many theaters, both corporate and independent, projecting film in this world for us to know about all of them, but we’d like to make a concerted effort to try.  Tell us about your favorite film-projecting venue(s) and we’ll add them to our databases and get them the resources they need to continue projecting film in the future.

Information is key here, so a link to their website or Facebook is more helpful than a business name and a town… but we’ll take what we can get.

Help us keep films on the big screen!  Send us your cinemas!

The Project Film Survey is LIVE!

The Film Advocacy Task Force of the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) supports theaters choosing to sustain film projection alongside digital cinema by connecting them with experts and resources. Project Film is an educational film series that will address the needs of film exhibitors as they navigate digital convergence, with practical information on securing prints and maintaining equipment. We’re in the pre-production phase and would love to hear from you- your responses to this short survey will help guide Project Film!

Give film a chance!  Take the survey today!


Contact Us

contact us

If you’re interested in becoming involved, contact the Task Force at We are an AMIA project, so if you are not already an AMIA member consider joining! For more information about how you can join, visit us here. The Association is for anyone concerned with our film and audiovisual heritage