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Indie cinema’s finds home

Sudbury Living Magazine November 7, 2014 Upfront No Comments

HOMELIFESTYLE

Defunct school gym indie cinema’s new home

By: Heidi Ulrichsen – Sudbury Northern Life

 | Nov 06, 2014 – 1:33 PM |
Sudbury Downtown Independent Cinema Co-operative project manager Beth Mairs speaks at a September press conference. The cinema project announced its future home Nov. 6. File photo.

Sudbury Downtown Independent Cinema Co-operative project manager Beth Mairs speaks at a September press conference. The cinema project announced its future home Nov. 6. File photo.

Reprinted from Northern Life, written by Heidi Ulrichsen

Group hopes to have one-screen theatre running next spring

The Sudbury Downtown Independent Cinema Co-operative plans to build a one-screen cinema in the gym of a defunct school across the road from Sudbury Secondary School on Mackenzie Street.Beth Mairs, the group’s project manager, announced Nov. 6 that while the former St. Louis de Gonzague school itself is old and decaying, it has a 2,500 square foot gym added on late in the 20th century that’s in good shape.The school building, originally slated to be turned into condos by an out-of-town developer, is in the process of being purchased by Autumnwood Mature Lifestyle Communities, she said.
Sudbury Downtown Independent Cinema Co-operative is set to get possession of the gym March 1, and if all goes well, the cinema could be up and running in April, Mairs said.It will cost about $200,000 to retrofit the space, including purchasing a projector, putting up a partition and adding modular sloped floors so cinema-goers will have an unobstructed view, she said.The maximum number of seats that can fit in the space is 200, although Mairs said they may put in less than that to give people more room.The initiative came about in the summer of 2013 when Rainbow Cinemas announced the closure of its downtown Sudbury theatre. A steering group formed to rent the space for an independent cinema, but the deal fell through.Undaunted, the group started looking at what other spaces in the downtown might be available, even inquiring about buildings that weren’t technically for sale or rent.

“We focused in on a location which was one of these places,” Mairs said.

“It was like ‘Oh, what is this being used for? Oh, it’s not being used for anything. Well, who owns it?’ So that’s what eventually led us to the very positive situation we’re in now.”

The idea is to screen both independent and second-run Hollywood films at the cinema.

The indie cinema has already received community and government support, including a $39,857 FedNor grant to pay for for architectural designs by the firm Castellan James + Partners Architects Inc. and Mairs’ salary.

The project also received some finances from a pair of angel investors — Roger and Chris Nash. The group is currently looking to contract a fundraiser willing run a $300,000 capital campaign for the co-op.

Mairs said the speed with which the cinema gets up and running is dependent on the level of financial support the project receives.

The Sudbury Downtown Independent Cinema Co-operative’s future location was announced as it gears up for the Best of Hot Docs Sudbury festival.

The film festival, which runs Nov. 6-9 at a number of downtown venues, is being put on by the indie cinema group in partnership with Mairs’ film production company, BAM North Productions.

For more about the film festival’s lineup, visit www.bamnorth.ca. Learn more about the Sudbury Downtown Independent Cinema Co-operative by searching for “Sudbury Indie Cinema Downtown” on Facebook or visitingsudburyindiecinema.com.

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