Cinemapolis celebrates its 30th Anniversary this fall! Throughout the month of November, we’ll feature special one-night only screenings of key movies from the past three decades, highlighting the diverse range of independent and international films that have been the hallmark of our community institution since it was founded in 1986 by original owners Lynne Cohen and Rich Szanyi. Four of these screenings will occur at 7 pm on each of the Monday nights in November: My Life as a Dog (1985) on November 7th; Do The Right Thing (1989) on November 14th; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) on November 21st; and The King’s Speech (2010) on November 28th. The month-long celebration will cap off on Wednesday, November 30th at 7 pm with birthday cake and the return of the theater’s biggest hit, Pulp Fiction (1994).
Now a non-profit media arts organization owned and operated by the Seventh Art Corporation of Ithaca, Cinemapolis began as a single screen in the basement of Center Ithaca. Lynne Cohen and Rich Szanyi moved to the Ithaca area in the mid-1980s and brought their love of independent and international film with them. Having previously owned an art house cinema called The Collective Fantasy in Sante Fe, New Mexico, Cohen and Szanyi soon found themselves back in the movie business, as Cinemapolis opened its doors in September of 1986 with nightly showings of the Akira Kurosawa masterpiece, Ran.
Thanks to the community’s love of important cinema and quality concessions, Cinemapolis gradually expanded to a second screen at the Center Ithaca location and then to encompass the operations of Fall Creek Pictures on Tioga Street. “When I first moved to Ithaca in 1982, if I wanted to see art and independent films, I found myself traveling back to NYC,” says Sue Perlgut, local filmmaker and current chair of the board of Cinemapolis. “Then Cinemapolis opened, and suddenly I could see myself staying to live and retire here!”
Following the nation-wide trend of community-supported art houses, the Seventh Art Corporation of Ithaca was established in late 2000 to transform Cinemapolis into a non-profit, member supported cinema. Nine years later, the board-led organization rallied community backing to move all five screens into the current home beneath the redeveloped Green Street parking garage, cementing the theater’s role as a community cultural institution and regional cinema resource.
“We’re extremely fortunate to be in a community that’s willing to support five screens of art house cinema,” says Brett Bossard, executive director of Cinemapolis. “There are many major metropolitan areas in the country that don’t have what we have here in Ithaca, and we welcome patrons from all over Upstate because of it.”
The Cinemapolis 30th Anniversary celebration takes place throughout the month of November. At each of the special anniversary screenings, admission is just $6 and free popcorn will be provided to the first 30 people in the door.