Remember My Name Since reopening four years ago under the stewardship of Keith Arnold, Josephine Scherer, and Emily Charles, the Fine Arts Cinema in Berkeley has established itself as a Bay Area institution. With a calendar comprised of thematic double bills (Godard/Hartley pairings are a trademark), community film festivals, and documentary premieres, the theater has found a formula for keeping repertory alive. Now the end is near -- to be followed by a most ambitious beginning.
The Fine Arts Cinema will close at the end of June, when owner and colorful East Bay developer Patrick Kennedy of Panoramic Interests plans to raze the current building and construct a new one. The Fine Arts Building, slated to open in 2004, will contain 100 housing units along with the Fine Arts Cinema, a 300-seat theater with upgraded chairs and sound and an elegant loge. "Kennedy's focus is a strong combination of housing and cultural use," Arnold reports. "I'm contributing capital to insure that a theater that meets my specifications and those of our audience is part of that building." Arnold has also formed a nonprofit organization dubbed the Cinema Preservation Society to develop a 100-seat storefront space on the site for screenings, installations, and exhibitions.
Charles is off to establish a restaurant in Japan, but Scherer will continue as the Fine Arts' technical director and projection maven. Arnold considered converting an unused space into a temporary theater during the hiatus, but instead will present Fine Arts-style programs at other local film houses. "It interests me to work more closely with my exhibition colleagues around the bay," Arnold explains, "and it gives me a chance to drive my audience to their venues." Look for the first "Fine Arts on the Road" show this summer, before Arnold heads to Amsterdam in September for a three-month programming gig at the Kriterion.
For information, visit www.unex.berkeley.edu/cat/ 023234.html or call (510) 642-4111.
Love With the Proper StrangerTired of playing extras in S.F.-shot Hollywood movies but unwilling to move to L.A., local actress Glorinda Marie concluded that her immediate career opportunities lay in nonunion independent films. When she discovered that www.indieclub.com, a free networking site for filmmakers, didn't have an S.F. chapter, Marie started one on New Year's Day. In the first month, 100 people from all aspects of filmmaking -- direction to makeup -- joined, leading to the chapter's first meeting on Jan. 26. "What I'm hoping," Marie told me on the phone a few days before the event, "is we get all kinds of people in the group and inspire more collaborative efforts."
S.F. Indieclub's enthusiastic group leader is working to create a networking forum. Marie has added an unmoderated chat forum for members (SFIndieclub-subscribe@ yahoogroups.com), and has encouraged members to post profiles, bios, and photos. At the first meeting, she declared, "I'm hoping we will become an extended family, a community of people who are passionate about filmmaking. If it takes a village to raise a child, it certainly takes a team to give birth to a film creation!" The second get-together, which will cover "Creating a Budget You Can Reel-y Stick To" and "Finding Funds for Financing Your Film," takes place Feb. 23 (time and location to be determined). Enroll at the Web site (free registration required) or e-mail Marie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Safety LastLocal film scholar and teacher Gregg Rickman -- who's also the wit behind SF Weekly's pithy Reps Etc. column -- will sign his new Limelight Editions anthology, The Film Comedy Reader, on Sunday, Feb. 10, at 4:30 p.m. at Bird & Beckett Books & Records, 2788 Diamond (at Chenery). The tome includes pieces by Buster Keaton, Manny Farber, and other legends, plus Rickman's musings on The Producers, Some Like It Hot, Bamboozled, and romantic comedy. What, no essays on Showgirls?
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