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When the Lincoln Plaza Theater closed in January of 2018, it was like a body blow to the Upper West Side, an area that historically housed a huge community of arts lovers who were educated, sophisticated and open to a wide variety of cinema experiences.

It wasn’t as if there weren’t alternatives. Film at Lincoln Center is one of the best curated art houses in the country. AMC has two large multiplexes that, in addition to playing the latest Hollywood movies, also squeeze in the occasional Focus, Searchlight, A24 or Neon film. But, with the passing of the Lincoln Plaza Theater, a stalwart community institution was gone.

The Upper West Side is desperately under-screened for the rabid art film audience that exists. Since the demise of both the Lincoln Plaza Cinemas and the Landmark 57, there are now only 3 full-time art screens plus 1 part-time screen north of 14th Street. This is in comparison to over 20 dedicated art screens that exist in downtown Manhattan, and a similar number in Brooklyn.

The neighborhood is also in need of an anchor destination and event space for the community.

About

The Upper West Side Cinema Project (UWSCP) has been formed with the goal of creating a new facility dedicated to screening new art film releases that currently have no home in the neighborhood, as well as classic films and special events. The theaters would also partner with other cultural institutions such as Film at Lincoln Center, the JCC of the Upper West Side, New Plaza Cinema, Woodstock Film Festival, BAM, MOMA and Columbia University School of the Arts among others to offer additional capacity for their existing programming. 

SWSCP is currently in the process of exploring possible locations that can accommodate a minimum of five screens, of which one would be devoted to community use, as well as a cafe/lounge space that would be open to the street and available for events.

The first step is to raise startup funding to kickstart the effort. In that regard, the Woodstock Film Festival has agreed to act in the capacity of Fiscal Sponsor, enabling contributions to UWSCP to be fully tax deductible, even before the establishment of our own 501(c)(3). Scroll down for information about donating.

Founders

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The Upper West Side Cinema Project is currently seeking donations for startup funds. The Woodstock Film Festival has agreed to be our fiscal sponsor, allowing all donations to be 100% tax deductible. The initial raise is $90,000, which will be used for the following:

  • Identifying possible spaces in the preferred area
  • Detailed plans for construction and final budget
  • Legal fees
  • Creation of 501c3 not-for-profit
  • Applications for real estate tax exemptions, Federal, State and City cultural and development grants
  • Zoning and permits for public venue use, food service & liquor license.

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