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Reinvestigating Art House Exhibition

Summer 2018, Vol. 18, No. 2

Guest Editor: Sarah E.S. Sinwell

This Special Issue of The Projector reinvestigates art house exhibition via multiple case studies. Examining such theatres as the Mary Riepma Ross Media Center in Lincoln, Nebraska, the Echo Park Film Center in Los Angeles, California, and Microlights, a microcinema based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the issue considers their audiences, marketing strategies, programming, fundraising, and industrial practices. The issue also includes two documentaries, a teaser for a future documentary series entitled American Art House, and an interview with distributor, exhibitor, and producer Ira Deutchman. Through interviews, archival work, documentary footage, and audience surveys, the issue focuses on how art house cinemas have responded to technological and industrial trends to help improve the quality and effectiveness of community-based art house cinemas in the contemporary era.

--Sarah E.S. Sinwell, Guest Editor

Ticket Stubs, Social Hub: Capital and Community Programming at the Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center

by William Fech

This essay focuses on the curatorial practices of the Mary Riepma Ross Media Center in Lincoln, Nebraska, and its role as an art film exhibitor. Via interviews, archives, and audience surveys, the analysis studies the Center’s foundational origins and values, the political shades of its regular and special event programming, its community engagement, and other details of its operation. Via the theory of “slow curation,” it examines how the Ross has addressed the need for community and capital programming.

The Echo Park Film Center: Microcinemas, Production Subcultures, and the Politics of Urban Space

by Jasmine Nadua Trice

This essay examines the production subcultures and urban politics of the Echo Park Film Center’s history as a microcinema space in Los Angeles. Utilizing interviews with the co-op members, the article argues that the Center’s identity has much to do with its deep commitment to the specificity of its neighborhood, as well as its insertion into translocal networks of art and activism. Analyzing the ways in which the community practices of the Echo Park Film Center map out urban economies of space and place, the essay argues that the Center is a hub for local education and cinemagoing networks in Los Angeles.

A Cinema in My Living Room: An Interview with Microlights
Co-Founder Ben Balcom

by Hugo Ljungbäck

This interview with Ben Balcom, co-founder of Microlights, a microcinema based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, focuses on the microcinema’s various modes of exhibition of contemporary experimental and artist-made film and video works. Hosting more than thirty film and video artists from around the world and programming around ten screenings per year, Microlights has a strong emphasis on community engagement. As a programmer and a filmmaker who has himself travelled across the country on microcinema tours, Balcom offers an enlightening perspective on the role and importance of microcinemas in the contemporary film exhibition landscape.

American Art House, Teaser

Director/Co-Producer, Sarah E. S. Sinwell

Cinematographer/Executive Producer, Kevin Hanson

Editor/Co-producer, Dana Ware

This teaser for a future documentary series introduces audiences to the culture and community of the American art house.

Ira Deutchman, Interview

Director/Producer, Sarah E. S. Sinwell

Cinematographer/Editor, Kevin Hanson

In this interview, Ira Deutchman, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Emerging Pictures and Professor at Columbia University, discusses the future of the art house.

About the Guest Editor: Sarah E. S. Sinwell is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Film and Media Arts at the University of Utah. She has published essays on Kickstarter, Green Porno and Mysterious Skin in A Companion to American Indie Film, Women’s Studies Quarterly and Asexualities: Feminist and Queer Perspectives. Examining shifting modes of independent film distribution and exhibition on YouTube, Netflix and SundanceTV, her current book project redefines independent cinema in an era of media convergence.

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