FilmScene cinema closure update

UPDATE: April 2, 2020

FilmScene Friends,

We miss you. Our normally bustling lobby is quiet and our screens are dark. The movies just aren’t the same at home, and the cinema is not the same without you.

Our business, and our mission, is bringing people together to engage the world around us through the art of film. But right now, public health is paramount, and FilmScene will remain closed indefinitely until conditions allow us to welcome crowds back to the movies.

This challenge has a significant impact on our programming. In anticipation of a lengthy closure, we have rescheduled or cancelled programming during the entirety of April and much of the month of May. Patrons with advance tickets will be given the opportunity to keep their seat at a later date, be refunded in full or donate their ticket purchase to FilmScene.

An extended closure has also necessitated that we prioritize the long-term viability of our organization. Our initial closure decision on March 15 was made with a commitment to keep our staff working through April 2, and we have done that. We are grateful for the hard work of our team during this time. However, at this time, we must make the unprecedented and painful decision to layoff our fifteen hourly part-time staff, and furlough or reduce our ten full-time staff members. 

We will continue to provide health insurance support to our furloughed staff and we will make every effort to support these staff members in receiving state and federal benefits. Our remaining staff will be working reduced hours to continue the essential duties of communicating with members, supporters and collaborators and building a recovery and reopening plan.

Our small and passionate team is the beating heart of our cinema. When we reopen, it is our intention and hope that our furloughed staff will be able to return to us in time to welcome everyone back to the movies again. 

These are difficult times for us, as well as our neighbors in the arts, entertainment, retail and restaurant industries. We are all hurting as we wait to welcome you back, and our hearts and minds turn to others in our community facing similar and greater challenges.

We also appreciate the continued support of our members, board and community. 

Your support of our Strengthen Grow Evolve campaign with The Englert Theatre enables us to continue building for a vibrant future. Work is on track to proceed in our new and historic venues, ensuring our facilities are prepared for a long-term future.

Your memberships will be extended during this closure, and you will continue to receive virtual perks.

Your financial and emotional support, in addition to the carefully considered planning and preparations we are engaged in now, ensure that we will return with the strength to pursue our mission of enriching our community through film that challenges, inspires, educates and entertains for years to come.

If you wish to make a contribution, you can become a member, make a donation, or pledge your support to our capital campaign

Iowa City has proven to be a resilient community. We’ve overcome challenging times before and we will rise again. Soon, we hope that we can again gather with curiosity and compassion to experience the arts together.

Until then, be healthy and safe.

See you at the movies,