Over the years film fans looking for diversity have had a couple of places to go. Now an important one has been forced to close its doors suddenly. They say it is not a permanent situation, but who knows. Here is an English translation of the press release issued last week:
Cinematic diversity takes a hit
EXCENTRIS FORCED TO SUSPEND TEMPORARILY
Montreal, November 24, 2015 – It is with great regret that the board of the Cinéma Parallèle, Excentris operator since 2011, announces the temporary suspension of indoor activities as of this date, by the deposit of a notice of intention to make a proposal to its creditors.
Since the acquisition and the reopening of the place four years ago, Excentris fought tirelessly to maintain its broadcasting mandate in a context of a changing industry. Showcase of auteur cinema, Excentris proposed a program to offset the commercial fare of multiplexes. During the same period, Excentris was able to adapt to rapid changes in the industry with the launch of its online film platform in February 2014 in collaboration with the National Film Board: a bold initiative for a movie theater.
Self-financing its operations from 80 to 90%, Excentris screened some 150 titles annually, staying true to its broadcasting mandate:
– The auteur cinema programming niche: emerging Quebec filmmakers, little known foreign filmmakers, experimental works, event programming in collaboration with partners;
– The programming of films from independent filmmakers confirmed (Woody Allen, Quentin Tarantino, Wim Wenders, etc.): securities broader and thus higher potential revenue.
Pareto’s law would normally apply as was the case in previous years: 80% of our programming should consist of niche titles, which brought in 20% of the box office, and 20% of our programming should be Independents bringing in 80% of ticket sales revenues.
The Excentris’ financial health is directly proportional to its ability to buy from distributors in auteur films. And that’s where the problems began. Despite its efforts, Excentris faced a lot of trouble getting high profile independent films. Difficulties in obtaining these films has gone on since the reopening in 2011 and intensified this summer, with rapid changes in business strategies regarding the marketing of films.
To maintain its business, Excentris would have needed just 4 more blockbusters this year, as was the case in 2013 and 2014. However, many of these films simply refused or proposed several weeks after their release on the multiplexes located near Excentris.
At a time when all players in the audiovisual industry are trying to adapt to changing habits of moviegoers, market forces took over. This forced Excentris to temporarily suspend its screenings.
The Board warmly thanks the elected officials and the government for their continued support to Excentris since its reopening in 2011, and especially the Ministry of Culture and Communications, the City of Montreal, the borough Le Plateau-Mont Royal and SODEC. The Quebec government has always supported us with kindness and has supported us at every step. This is after deep reflection and with great difficulty that the Board of Directors decided to temporarily suspend the film screenings. It would have been unreasonable and inconsistent to require the local government to kick in the funds to make up the difference.
The board would also like to thank all partners and donors who contributed to private fundraising over the past five years. Finally, Excentris wishes to acknowlege all the cinephiles and directors, even those that we hope to work with in the future and work towards helping them grow to become established directors.
The future months will bring a an examination of different scenarios to reopen in the future. Despite the suspension of film screenings, Film Online will continue, and corporate events planned for November and December will go ahead as planned.
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