Austin Film Society launches crowdfunding campaign to re-open its cinema


Austin Film Society is looking to its supporters to raise $150,000 in order to re-open its cinema this summer.

The non-profit organization closed its two-screen theater, AFS Cinema, in March 2020 because of the pandemic. At the time it also laid off all hourly AFS Cinema workers. Other staff were furloughed or saw salary reductions. Since then AFS has been streaming films online, capturing a small portion of the ticket revenue.

Yet despite a shuttered cinema and reduced staff, AFS has nevertheless continued iits grantmaking to independent filmmakers.

The $150,000 Next Picture Show campaign begins today and continues June 17 at Funds raised will cover costs to hire and train staff, maintain and upgrade projection equipment and put COVID-safety measures in place including HEPA air filters.

The Still Water Foundation of Austin is matching the first $50,000.

“When we were able to start the AFS Cinema in 2017 after 30 years of showing films around town, it was a dream come true. Our audiences were growing and our cinema had become a very special place in Austin, where people could come together and experience everything great about independent and arthouse film,” said Rebecca Campbell, CEO of AFS. “We are ready to welcome back the entire community to take part in the rich and ever-expanding film culture that Austin is known for.”

Details of an exact date that AFS Cinema will open this summer will be announced in the coming weeks.

Jeanne Claire van Ryzin
Jeanne Claire van Ryzin
An award-winning arts journalist, Jeanne Claire van Ryzin is the founder and editor-in-chief of Sightlines.

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