Brass Ribbon Cinema: Fishtown's Neighborhood Cinema!
Brass Ribbon Cinema: Fishtown's Neighborhood Cinema!
Fishtown is missing a movie theater. We've got the plan. Now we just need the support!
Fishtown is missing a movie theater. We've got the plan. Now we just need the support! Read more
THE STORYIt's 2016, and a duo of siblings who through persistence, hard work, and a demandingly tight budget, saw their objective come through. Their goal? Purchasing their first home, and becoming official Philly residents. They soon found themselves welcomed into one of the most vibrant communities in Philadelphia: Fishtown.
After living in Fishtown, we can tell you that we grew spoiled. One of the really amazing things about Fishtown is the sheer amount of offerings in such a small radius. Coffee Houses, ice cream shops, restaurants, bars, bakeries, art galleries, and glorious, GLORIOUS pizza — all within walking distance!
But every silver cloud has a grey lining.
We looked around and realized that the nearest movie theater was a 45-minute walk from home. We decided to drive to a different theater 30 minutes away, and suddenly a Saturday night movie seemed more like a chore than a night out, and a rip-off, rather than a treat..
Two movie tickets? "That will be $30."
A little something for that sweet tooth? "$7, please!"
Oh, that salty popcorn made you thirsty? "Yup, that’s another $6 for a drink."
There had to be a better way. Why don’t Fishtown and Kensington have a movie theater of our own? We already have indoor mini-golf and a BYOB ax-throwing place... was a movie theater too much to hope for?
THE IDEA"I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse."
After a fair amount of “wouldn’t it be cool if…, we decided to just DIY this thing. Start with a 1-screen community BYOB movie theater, and grow from there, depending on what the community demands and what our budget can bear.
Knowing our audience also means we can provide better service at a more reasonable price point. Most importantly, we can engage our community in a way that the big boys can’t touch— by treating people like neighbors, friends, and family... not just profit centers.
Some of what you can expect to find at Brass Ribbon Cinema:
- Kid-friendly sing-along matinee ( because who doesn't still have Frozen's “Let It Go” replaying in their heads?)
- Adult-friendly drink- along BYOB movie nights ( take a sip every time the camera unnecessarily focuses on a gear shift in “The Fast and The Furious”)
- Free First Friday special screenings Classic/remake double features
- Concessions partnerships with local restaurants
- Specialty screenings for independent artists
- Free on-screen advertising for local charities and nonprofits
These are just a few of the ideas we have to make Brass Ribbon Cinema a Fishtown favorite.
"There's no place like home!"
Like most of Philadelphia, Fishtown is in the midst of a great revitalization. The neighborhood has changed so much even in the past few years. As we scouted potential sites , we kept in mind that we had to find a place that could not only accommodate fully-functional single-screen theater, but also honor Fishtown's history.
Enter Adam Cramer. The owner of Liberty Vintage Motorcycles, resident of Fishtown for over a decade, and Brass Ribbon's future landlord. From his Massive 4000 Square Foot Warehouse on Sepviva St., he's seen the neighborhood transform into what it is today. Real estate prices being what they are, he could have sold the garage, closed the shop, and made a tidy sum years ago. However, he was intentional about seeing the space turned into a neighborhood hub. .
...And it started with a Facebook post.
We connected with Adam through a community Facebook page. Adam had put up a post looking for a tenant that would make use of half of his Garage in a way that would be fun, and would add value the neighborhood we call home. It didn't take long for us to fall in love with the space, and after meeting Adam and hearing his story, we knew we had found the perfect location.
This means that while half of the 4,000 square foot garage will be renovated to accommodate Brass Ribbon Cinema, the other half will remain as a haven for vintage motorcycles— some of which will be on full display for everyone to enjoy! We are so excited to be working with Adam to create a truly unique movie-going experience.
"Nothing is impossible. Even the word itself says 'i'm possible' "Yet, dreams often don’t come cheap, nor free. Licensing, insurance, rent, and utilities all have to get covered monthly, and there are always startup costs, like inventory, seating, a projector, and renovations.
So, we’re turning to our community of neighbors (cue your entrance!), and crowdfunding this project on Kickstarter. In order for us to have this accessible alternative to the big chain theaters, we need your support - both financially and vocally. Make a donation, make your support heard by attending the zoning/committee meetings, share it on social media or just tell your friends what we're up to!
Your backing will help us start off strong and lay down a solid foundation for our community movie theater... It also helps let us know that we’re not crazy and this is something you actually want to see happen in Fishtown!
We understand that making a contribution to a project like this can feel like a big leap. So, we want to make sure we are transparent with your donation. Below you will see a general breakdown of our startup costs, and what your pledge will be supporting.
- Legal Expenses and permits........................$15,500
- Business Registrations.................................$800
- Marketing Promotion expenses....................$3,500
- Consultant Fees............................................$2,500
- Renovation costs...........................................$50,000
- Business utilities............................................$1,000
- Operational costs...........................................$5,000
- Start-up equipment and inventory .................$20,700
- Seating & Lighting..........................................$6,500
Those with an eye for detail may have noticed that our budget total is larger than what we intend to raise here.
We have reached out to contractors, architects and business consultants to understand the minimum amount needed to open our doors. It is our intention to make up the discrepancy using a combination of private investors, a business loan, and personal funds.
"As a real estate investor and a resident of Fishtown, I feel really fortunate to live in and work in such a vibrant and diverse community. I feel that film is a great medium for finding common ground and engaging new perspectives, something that I see every day in my own neighborhood. What better way to celebrate that than to create a space for it." - Miguel
"During my Public Administration studies, I learned how to balance the mission and heart of nonprofits, with the efficiency of a business. I believe movies have the ability to teach us empathy in a powerful and effective way. The carefully crafted stories that are lit up on the big screen can make us feel sad, angry, nostalgic, pity or pure joy, all in the span of hours. The beauty of this is that it gives all of us an equal opportunity to take something good from a story that we may never live ourselves." - Mairobi
Risks and challenges
Starting any new business is not without its risks and challenges. For us, that means we have 4 significant bridges to cross. .
Financial sustainability: A real (but perhaps unfounded) concern that we have is that people will simply not show up. The truth is that Fishtown doesn’t have a movie theater currently in operation, and the nearest small theater is in the heart of Center City. This doesn’t give us much to go on as far as what kind of attendance to expect. Keeping that in mind, we designed our budget to be able to survive for on a bare minimum. Filling just 6% of our seats per day will provide enough revenue to cover all of our operating costs for the duration of our lease. This budget also doesn't account for revenue from things like theater rentals, on-screen advertising, concessions or merchandising. We feel that this gives us a great buffer against fluctuations in attendance, and will allow us a great deal of flexibility in finding the most profitable way to operate.
Acceptance: Fishtown can be a deeply political place, and we’ve already encountered folks who for one reason or another are less than thrilled with the idea of someone opening a movie theater here. One of the unique things about what we are doing is that instead of destroying a Fishtown landmark and replacing it with something new, we’ve found a happy medium, by partnering with a long-term resident we can create something new out of a space that's already here. In time, in we think that those who feel apprehensive about what we intend to do will realize that we’re just another part of why this is such a great place to live.
Renovation: As inspiring as the Liberty Vintage garage is, a movie theater it is not. The bulk of our costs will be spent transforming this space into Fishtown's only neighborhood cinema. We are confident that with a solid vision, a written plan, and a great general contractor, we can build something enjoyable and functional.
Licensing: There is also the issue of licensing films. Before we can (legally) screen a movie publicly, we must get a license to do so from the distributor. We are actively contacting distributors in order to expand our catalog for opening day. Having a great selection on opening day and beyond is extremely important to us. The challenge comes with getting the right films at the right price at the right time in order to give everyone the best experience possible.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (45 days)