I was sent the following email. If you care at all about the greatest movie theatre in San Francisco, I urge you to read this and write in (that includes you, Cinetrix!):
Friends and Colleagues:
Whether I have mentioned to you or not, the Castro Theatre is in serious trouble. The owner of the business, in his desire for sure profit, has made drastic staffing cuts and is on the verge of changing things for the worse by monkeying with programming. Anita Monga, who has programmed the theatre since 1986, long before this present owner/adminstration, has guided the Theatre through heavy times, the good and the bad years, to be able to make the Castro a unique movie theatre experience, not just locally but internationally.
If the Castro Theatre goes, an important cultural institution will forever perish. We all know the state of movie exhibiton, so this is no
exageration. The less venues there are to show unique, interesting,
non-mainstream films, the less opportunity filmmakers will have to make
those kinds of films.
This might be hard to imagine today, but the current owner’s father ran the Castro Theatre into the ground in the late 60s, early 70s, showing
third-run in an unfortunate state of disrepair. He had hoped to turn that piece
of land into a seemingly more profitable apartment building. It was the
passion of programmer Mel Novikoff who took over operations, and created
the beautiful Castro we know today, cultivating an audience for classics
and independents. Anita Monga took up Novikoff’s vision when he passed
I include below a request to you made by the staff of the Castro Theatre. Whether you have, in recent times, come to see theatrical premieres of extraordinary docs like The Corporation or The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, the antics of Marc Huestis’ Ladies and Gentlemen Prefer Jane Russell with the singular Ms Jane Russell in person, gorgeous revivals of The Leopard, La Dolce Vita or Tokyo Story, or have come to the Asian American, SF International, Frameline Lesbian and Gay, the Arab or the many other film festivals we host, you know how important this theatre is.
Thank You, and please pass this on.
Can you do a favor?
Can you write a simple letter of appreciation for the Castro
Theatre? Some critical points to make (if you’re comfortable doing so)
are: 1) The programming is interesting and intelligent and is one of the
things that sets the theatre apart. 2) The staff is intelligent,
knowledgeable and responsive to the audience’s needs, and is one of the
things that sets the theatre apart. 3) The theatre is a vital part of the
cultural life of the Bay Area.
Please be positve. Any negativity, including fears about the
theatre’s future or pleas to save the theatre will be extemely
counterproductive. Rather, take the tone of a recommendation letter or a
simple thank you note. You can address it to the Castro Theatre.
This doesn’t have to be long (unless you feel inspired)—a few sentences will do. If you can write it on letterhead and mail it to Castro Theatre, 429 Castro Street, San Francisco CA 94114, or attach it to e-mail and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org, that’d be great.
If you think of anyone else who might appreciate what we’re doing, let me know to contact.
If you feel that you can do this, please don’t delay. The next few weeks are critical.