Inspiration for Open Cinema

“Creating a positive future begins in human conversation. The simplest and most powerful investment any member of a community or an organization may make in renewal is to begin talking with other people as though the answers mattered.”

William Greider, Who Will Tell the People

“Forget Cannes — The liveliest film festival is at a coffee house or bar near you. More than a hundred years after the Lumière brothers projected the first film on the basement wall of a Paris cafe, underground film is experiencing a revival in the form of microcinema — alternative screening spaces like bars, coffeehouses and community centres that exhibit a variety of experimental works by independent filmmakers.

The term “microcinema” was coined in 1991 by two San Francisco-based experimental film buffs, David Sherman and Rebecca Barten, who started showing movies out of their mobile home. Since then, local microcinema scenes and websites that stream films have cropped up across the US, Canada and Europe, providing a haven for filmmakers seeking exhibition opportunities and for film buffs who’d like to get to know each other. “Microcinemas” writes Angela Alston in The Independent Film & Video Monthly (September 2002) “are not a place to sink into the dark and disconnect all neural activity.

“Indeed, the casual, salon-like atmosphere of microcinemas (both beer and conversation usually flow freely) creates a sense of community that more than makes up for the lack of stadium seating and Dolby sound.”

Angela Razdan, Utne Magazine May/June 2003

“I see cinema as a device that has to see beyond things. Through things. It has to connect things. You have to go further than a closeup. It’s got to become a microscope.”

Robert Lepage in Weird Sex and Snowshoes: A Trek Through the Canadian Cinematic Psyche