New York's Film Forum announces creation of fourth screen

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Karen Cooper, longtime director of New York City’s Film Forum, and Alan Klein, chairman of Film Forum’s board, announced that Film Forum will construct a fourth screen in the property contiguous with its current three-screen facility (opened in September 1990), which will undergo a full renovation simultaneously.

Stephen Tilly, who designed Film Forum’s earlier incarnation on Watts Street (with Alan Buchsbaum), is the architect in charge of the project.

“As we approach our half-century mark, it makes sense for us to add a fourth screen and enhance the comfort of our theatres without compromising our integrity,” Cooper stated. “Too often, New York landmarks disappear, only to be replaced by nail salons and chain drug stores. Happily, New Yorkers are committed to seeing films that take risks and break the mold, as well as discovering movie history. They will continue to have those opportunities at Film Forum, in an even more gracious setting.”

Founded in 1970 as a nonprofit alternative to commercial movie houses, Film Forum gives equal weight to carefully selected New York City premieres and comprehensive repertory programming. Karen Cooper and Mike Maggiore select the premieres. Bruce Goldstein, director of repertory programming, presents a dedicated program of classics, including festivals and important restorations.

The “Film Forum 50” initiative looks ahead to the New York institution’s 50th anniversary in 2020, and comprises three parts: the creation of a fourth screen, the renovation of its current cinemas, and the growth of its endowment. Construction will include re-raking theatres and installing elegant new seating by Figueras to improve sightlines and add more capacious legroom. The cost of construction/renovation and endowment expansion comes to $6 million, of which more than half has already been raised. Construction will begin in early 2018. Film Forum will close for May and June, and reopen in its new four-screen incarnation on July 4.

The Thompson Family Foundation is making a $1 million gift to Film Forum to name the new fourth screen. Alan Siegel, an officer and director of the foundation, wrote, “The Thompson Family Foundation has a broad mission, which includes the arts and the preservation of unique places in New York and its surroundings. Film Forum fits nicely into both categories, and we are pleased to help with the expansion and enhancement of its theatres.”

Film Forum board members, led by chairman Klein, have made significant individual contributions. Additionally, more than $400,000 has been committed by the City of New York: From the Office of the Mayor; The New York City Council (speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, majority leader Jimmy Van Bramer and Council members Corey Johnson and Margaret Chin); the Office of Manhattan Borough President Gayle Brewer; and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl).