Letter: Save Our Saturday Night Cinema In The Street

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Last summer the city introduced Cinema in the Street. The series, held on Saturday night, featured older films and was free to the public. While the original intention in presenting the series was to offer people the opportunity to see a film while the AMC Theatre was being renovated, the event became much more. It was an opportunity for families on a budget from many different neighborhoods, with parents who work Monday through Friday, to come together for an affordable night out. Granted, the popularity of the Saturday event and the gift of serving families on a budget was a serendipitous occurrence, however, what a gift and one we all needed! While public input was never specifically invited, the movie night was changed to Wednesday for this summer, making it hard for many to attend. The response from so many citizens was the impetus for creating a Facebook group and for the group to formally ask the city to please take the citizens viewpoint into consideration.

Based on a petition signed by over 250 people and general response from the public, our sense is that parents and families overwhelmingly would prefer the event be held on Saturday. The Save Our SATURDAY NIGHT Cinema in the Street Facebook group, a group of close to 200 members, recently messaged the city asking that at least half of the films be moved back to Saturday night.

The group heard from the city on Tuesday, July 10. They will only be moving the final film back to Saturday night. The response from the city said they want to have the greatest participation possible. With this in mind, we responded in email with the follow statement. We have not heard back from the city at the time this letter is being submitted, but here is our statement that was send to the mayor and all city council the afternoon of July 10:

“We understand that events require planning. Of course everyone wants the greatest participation possible. It’s unfortunate that the public was not consulted before decisions were made about this year’s free movies. The preference for weekend showing would have been clear and this information could have been included in the planning process.

Although appreciative of one film being shown on Saturday, we are disappointed that more were not returned to Saturday given the outpouring of community-wide support.

So let’s focus on the future. What can we do to assure public input for next year’s Cinema in the Street? Can you describe a process that will include public comments/recommendations for 2019 so this disappointing situation can be avoided in the future.”

—Chiara Gallo Blanco
—Michelle Perone

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