New England’s two iconic art house cinemas—Cambridge’s The Brattle Theatre and Brookline’s Coolidge Corner Theatre—today announced the establishment of new funds dedicated to keeping 35mm film projection alive and well in Greater Boston.
“Boston is one of the few cities left in the US where you can see a film on 35mm every week, often multiple nights a week between the five venues that remain committed to the format. It’s one of the great things about living in this city but not something we should take for granted.” – Ian Brownell, Board Member of The Brattle and one of the donors who provided seed money for these funds. “Our hope is that our gift will inspire others to step up and show their appreciation for the world-class projection at The Brattle and the Coolidge.”
In the early 2000s, Hollywood studios announced that they were phasing out 35mm prints in favor of digital distribution. This shift effectively translated to an ultimatum to movie theaters: convert or die. Several independently-owned movie cinemas went out of business, but in 2012, the Coolidge and The Brattle successfully raised funds to install digital projection in their theaters.
At the same time, both venues remained dedicated to preserving celluloid film projection, and continued to employ talented projectionists who are trained to handle film. In addition to 35mm film, The Brattle has 16mm projection capability and the Coolidge can show films in 16mm and 70mm (including the upcoming Christopher Nolan film Oppenheimer, which is slated to open on July 21). In 2022, The Brattle screened 120 films in 35mm, while the Coolidge screened 137 films in 35mm including runs of Memoria, Licorice Pizza, and The Power of the Dog.
“There’s something very special about seeing a movie projected on film. There is a warmth and emotional power that comes from a film print that has yet to be matched by a digital version for me,” remarked Ned Hinkle, Creative Director of The Brattle. “But it’s not just about the format, it’s about the care and attention that need to be given when screening. It’s about a physical connection to a work of art and, in a very real way, a connection to history. It’s about so much more than just what you see on screen.”
“There’s nothing like seeing a 35mm print of a movie you love projected on screen,” said Mark Anastasio, Director of Special Programming at the Coolidge. “We are grateful to our donors for recognizing the importance of 35mm and helping to ensure that our audiences will continue to have the opportunity to experience films on film at the Coolidge.”
To make a contribution to The Brattle 35mm Film Fund, please visit brattle.org/donate. To make a contribution to the Coolidge 35mm Film Fund, please visit coolidge.org/donate.
About The Brattle
Located in historic Harvard Square, Cambridge, The Brattle Theatre has been showcasing the best in classic, cutting-edge, international, and art-house cinema in a repertory format since 1953. One of the original ‘Calendar Houses,’ The Brattle holds a unique place in cinematic history as the birthplace of the “Bogie Cult,” with annual showings of Humphrey Bogart films starting in 1960 that helped canonize the late movie star. The non-profit Brattle Film Foundation has operated The Brattle Theatre since 2001. For more information, visit brattlefilm.org.
About the Coolidge Corner Theatre
The nonprofit Coolidge Corner Theatre is a New England landmark with a national reputation for award-winning film programming, innovative educational programs, and community partnerships. The Coolidge shows classic and contemporary films, hosts live performances and special guests, and produces innovative film series like Big Screen Classics, After Midnite, Science on Screen®, Cinema Jukebox, PANORAMA, The Sounds of Silents®, Kids’ Shows, and Rewind!, as well as film education classes and monthly repertory programs. The Coolidge hosts several prominent film festivals and has welcomed film luminaries such as Meryl Streep, Michael Douglas, Werner Herzog, Jane Fonda, Liv Ullmann, Ethan Hawke, The Daniels, Elegance Bratton, Julianne Moore, and more. In summer 2023, the Coolidge will open its doors to a 14,000 sq. foot theater expansion project, which will add two new screens, an expanded lobby, and a community education and engagement center. For more information, visit coolidge.org.