Bloor Cinema saved by Hot Docs
- July 5, 2011 2:08 PM |
- By Susan Noakes
Cities across Canada have long been losing their repertory theatres -- Cinéma du Parc in Montreal, the Wormwood in Halifax, the Ridge in Vancouver, the Festival in Winnipeg, the Paradise in Toronto come to mind -- which is why it's welcome news that the Hot Docs International Film Festival is taking over the Bloor Cinema in Toronto and refurbishing the nearly 100-year-old building.
"Independent cinemas like the Bloor are vital to the city's vibrant film culture," Hot Docs executive director Chris McDonald said in a statement released Tuesday. "Blue Ice Film and Hot Docs want to see them thrive."
The Bloor, opened in 1913 as a "picture palace," is one of the few remaining places in Toronto where you can slip into a seat in the dark, just before the film begins, to see something that will play almost nowhere else: short films, horror films, documentaries, Canadian films. Its old-fashioned popcorn stand smells like popcorn, instead of some overly sugared midway. It has double seats on its balcony for the romantically inclined.
More importantly for film-lovers, it doesn't waste a half hour of your time with ads and previews -- surely the development that has done the most to drive people away from cinemas.
Hot Docs has been filling the Bloor's 800-plus seats for more than 12 years. It has taken over the venerable venue from Carm Bordonaro, who bought it in June of 2010 in an effort to ensure its survival. Though property (read condo) developers have been knocking at the Bordonaro family's door -- he's managed the Bloor since 1999 -- he has held off on a sale until now and should be congratulated for thinking of the neighbourhood instead of the bottom line.
Hot Docs is promising to upgrade the cinema's technical equipment and sound system (we also suggest a patch of those overhead leaks). Updates aside, there can be no question of the new landlord's commitment to film.
-- Susan Noakes
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