Update: Opening date announced!
You've put us past $20,000. THANK YOU! Spots on our founder's wall, opening night tickets, and regular tickets are still available. We've been able to add accessibility equipment with the additional funds so far, and we're hoping to reach $22k so we can make some acoustic and sound improvements in the lobby/cafe area.
Recently added as reward options are a t-shirt designed by The Social Dept, and an opening night poster designed by 427 Design.
There's now a fourth update with Cory and Jacob showing new progress and announcing an opening night date of Saturday, June 28th!
A downtown Akron movie theater?
Did you know that Akron, with its population of about 200,000, is one of the largest cities in America without a cinema for independent and foreign films? Let's fill the gap! The Nightlight will be a single-screen movie theater with pristine digital picture and sound, opening Summer 2014. (Update: See the Akron Beacon Journal's article on the project!)
The Nightlight will be operated by the nonprofit Akron Film+Pixel (that's us), which has produced over 130 events since 2008 by partnering with the Akron Art Museum, Akron-Summit County Public Library, and Summit Artspace.
Our Kickstarter funds will help us get the café and box office equipment and furnishings we need to make the Nightlight cinema-going experience easy and comfortable.
Why is this important?
While access to offbeat films is easier than ever at home, the amplified experience of watching such movies with a group, on a big screen, is getting harder to find. (Or, in Akron's case, was never consistently available!)
The Nightlight follows the examples of new venues like Cinefamily (LA) and O Cinema (Miami) in finding the scale and methods through which it's feasible to keep alternative cinema culture alive. We're bringing them to the midwest, where offerings are fewer and further between, despite the presence of populations who would appreciate them.
What will we show?
We'll bring first-run films from studio indie labels like Fox Searchlight, The Weinstein Company, and Sony Pictures Classics that normally wouldn't make it any closer than Cleveland. We'll also have more screen time than ever for "true indie" and undiscovered gems that win major festival awards but don't get many theatrical screenings. Each film will typically run for 1-2 weeks.
At the concession stand, we'll have traditional snacks like fresh popcorn and soda, plus local beer, wine, coffee, espresso, and more. All available before, during, and after the films. Pastries and chocolate will come from local vendors like Sugar-Luv, The Blue Door, and Cupcake Binge.
Coffee lovers will appreciate the Nuova Simonelli espresso machine selected by our "Food Curator" Cory Sheldon, while the craft beer aficionado can benefit from our partnerships with local breweries.
Your Kickstarter contributions will be put toward the coffee/bar equipment, refrigeration, glasses, tables, chairs, and other café related purchases. It's not just about food -- it's about providing comfortable space to gather before and after films.
The Nightlight will be at 30 N. High Street in downtown Akron's Historic Arts District. That's about a block north of the Akron Art Museum, near Crave Restaurant, Musica, and Urban Eats. Parking is easy in the city's High Street deck (And parking there is free on weekends and after 6:00 p.m. daily).
Renovation is underway at this site. We removed some walls, added some doors, and will be building the bar and installing the screen and electronics soon.
Our access to the latest films will be partially due to our investment in a "DCI Compliant" Christie digital cinema projector, which meets a standard of excellent brightness and color set by a coalition of studios for theater use. The projector, screen and 8-speaker sound will be installed and calibrated by experienced cinema pros.
Admission will be a few dollars cheaper than the multiplex, because The Nightlight is meant to be a regular part of your week, not just an occasional special outing. In many ways the experience will be better -- we'll turn our small auditorium size to our advantage with immersive, technically excellent presentation. And more than ever, we'll create an informative context with pre-film introductions and post-film audience discussion. (And filmmaker Q&As, when possible!)
Meet Our Team
An incredibly dedicated, mostly volunteer team drives Akron Film+Pixel (and now The Nightlight).
Cory Sheldon is a filmmaker and designer. He's responsible for the interior design... and is food curator! Mary T. O'Connor is an architect who's spent most of her career designing non-profit theaters in New York City.
Rob Lucas founded AF+P as a student organization in 2002, and is working on PR for The Nightlight. Kurtiss Hare came to AF+P last year, and now handles communication and is a film programmer. Alison Caplan is Director of Education at the Akron Art Museum, and long-time ally to AF+P. She's made our events possible at the Akron Art Museum and conceived the annual SPARK Family Film Fest. Jacob Trombetta and Jennifer Anne Court are musicians who have helped shape our popular filmmaking activities, and are now creating new ones. Charles Crouch has hosted cinematography workshops for AF+P, and is now on The Nightlight's marketing committee. Liz Hunt is the newest team member -- she's pitched in as needed for events and is currently seeking furnishings for The Nightlight. Siomara Marquetti is volunteer coordinator for Ideastream, and is helping to develop The Nightlight's volunteer program. Brian Gibson is a Financial Center Manager for Fifth Third Bank, and is helping to develop corporate relationships with The Nightlight.
Steve Felix has been plugging away at Akron Film+Pixel since 2007, when he did promotional design and videos for the film festival. Now he's writing this Kickstarter. In the third person.
Our Board of Trustees includes attorney Richard Honeck, who's been indispensable in the leasing process. Eric Vaughan is a filmmaker and co-owner of Red Point Digital, inspiring the vision of The Nightlight, and helping build the board. Eunsu Kang is Assistant Professor of New Media at the University of Akron, where she's facilitated much of the "pixel" side of Akron Film+Pixel. Eric Wasserman is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Akron, where he's cultivating a new generation of cinema-goers. Rob and Steve (above) are also trustees.
You're doing this for $12,000?
Not exactly! We have already attained 80% of our total start-up budget of $160,000, thanks to a generous, transformative grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. We need you to push us over the top.
Cool, but I liked seeing films at the Akron Art Museum!
For as long as they'll have us, we'll keep up our programming with the museum and library! We love the Akron Art Museum, our partner for the past six years, and the Main Library has proven a great new partner as well.
Risks and challenges
We hope our staff, volunteers, contractors, and vendors will come together in a great harmony of scheduling. But in case we don't, we're keeping the opening date loose. We believe our target of "Summer of 2014" allows for delays. We will keep our donors updated throughout the process. That also goes for rewards, which are contingent on opening; still, we believe Summer 2014 is realistic.
This theater will be a first of its kind in Akron, so the long term risk is simply one of the population's response. We are always adapting and listening.
Akron Film+Pixel has produced over 130 film events in the past six years, without ever cancelling one. And now we're committed to opening The Nightlight.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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