The Future of the Film Forum

Dear Friends and Patrons,

If you have come to the Forum to see a film this fall, you know that our movie attendance is down, pretty significantly. Overall, our attendance has steadily declined since Bow Tie opened.

The purpose of this letter is not to criticize another theater; it is to let you know how we intend to address our current situation. The film business is changing and consolidating. Very few theaters have a single screen any more; more and more, film distributors require “open-ended” engagements for popular films. In other words, you can’t book many newer films if you’re not willing to run them indefinitely.

Saratoga Film Forum runs a pretty lean organization. But our primary expenses – theater rental, movie rental and projection – are such that we don’t break even until about 135 people see a film each weekend (over three screenings). That’s a minimum of 45 people each and every screening on our typical Thursday, Friday, Sunday schedule. This fall, we tried some expanded screenings: two showings on some nights, some Saturday events. That gave us some boost, but not nearly enough. If you have come to films this fall, or last spring, you know we are not reaching those levels.

This does not mean that we are giving up; our entire board believes there is an important spot for independent cinema in our region, with curated films, speakers and special events. That is why we are going to take a hiatus for a few months from business-as-usual. The hiatus will allow us to schedule meetings and discussions with community members – both frequent patrons, and those who rarely come. It will allow our board to generate new options and ideas and test them out. Finally, we intend to hold special events at least monthly.  We also have a newly convened Documentary committee, and that committee is looking at new options and formats.

We understand that those of you who bought memberships may be particularly concerned. If you are a member at any level, we will “pause” your membership and re-start it when we have a clearer path. If you bought a membership this fall, and want a refund, we will do that. Above all, we hope to maintain the trust and respect of our community as we evaluate our options.

If you are interested in getting involved in re-shaping our future, please contact me at filmforumboard@gmail.com. I welcome your involvement and ideas.

Sincerely,

Carol Maxwell, Saratoga Film Forum Board President

What's New!

Save the Date–Annual Members Meeting, October 21st

Film Forum members! Please join us for the Saratoga Film Forum’s Annual Members Meeting on Tuesday, October 21st, 2014, from 6:00–8:45 p.m. We appreciate your support, suggestions, and patronage all year long. October is an especially important month; that is when we elect new people to our Board. At this meeting, you will have a chance to meet the proposed board members and participate in the board elections.

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Film Forum News

Tonight’s screening of ‘Red Angel’ is CANCELLED

Tonight’s screening of the Japanese classic, ‘Red Angel’, will be postponed due to the storm.

Please check our website for a new date for a special Town & Gown screening of Red Angel, followed by a discussion with Union College film maker in residence, Jim de Seves.

Cancellations

Pilates for a Purpose

On Feb. 8, at 10 a.m., drop in at Reform Pilates,18 Division Street, Suite #203, for an open Pilates Mat Class. All levels and experience are welcome. There is no charge for this class, but donations will be accepted which will benefit the Saratoga Film Forum. Please wear comfortable clothing and socks. Bring a yoga mat if you have one and please arrive 15 minutes prior to class. For more information, call 518-871-1315 or visit reformyourbody.com.

Thanks to Reform Pilates for supporting the Saratoga Film Forum!

Local Partnerships

Volunteer Appreciation Night!–Sept. 17

Past, Present, and Future Volunteers: This is Your Night—With Free Screening!

Tues., Sept. 17,  6:30 p.m.

Featured presentation: Side Effects

Directed by Steven Soderburgh • Written by Scott Burns 106 min. • USA • 2013 •  Rated R

Please join us at our theater for refreshments, a conversation with board members, and our Volunteers Coordinator, Richard Vallone, about all the ways you can volunteer for the non-profit Film Forum, and serve your community with your support for our 21-year-old film arts organization. Veteran volunteers, share your thoughts about how to make our operation more efficient. Future volunteers, bring your questions and ideas, too.

Our film tonight—free and open for volunteers only—is Steven Soderburgh’s provocative new thriller Side Effects, with Rooney Mara, Jude Law, Channing Tatum, and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Mara and Tatum play a successful New York couple whose world unravels when a new drug prescribed by Emily’s psychiatrist (Jude Law)—intended to treat anxiety—has unexpected side effects. A sly and stylish drama that suggests a dark commentary on America’s rising obsession with prescription drugs.

P.S. Four of our high school volunteers, Gabby Wales, Kiersten Meybaum, Sidney Smith and Alex Kissel, will have to miss our party this fall; they’re off to college, and we wish them all the best. For many years these honor students have provided our Sunday patrons with expert, enthusiastic service at our ticket table and concessions booth. From all of us—thanks for the good work!

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