Good News: Brattle Update

by clarencecarter
February 2, 2006 11:26 AM
2 Comments
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Brattle Film Foundation Signs Extension On Current Lease At The Brattle Theatre;
Preserve The Brattle Legacy Campaign Extended Through 2006


It was announced this week that the Brattle Film Foundation (BFF) has signed a one-year extension on their current lease with landlord Brattle Square Associates. The major benefit to this event is that the vital Preserve The Brattle Legacy Campaign will be extended through the end of the current year. This will give the foundation the time needed to complete the two-year Preserve The Brattle Legacy fundraising campaign.

When the campaign was originally announced in October of 2005, the urgency of the undertaking was compounded by the fact that the BFF’s lease on the Brattle Theatre space was initially due to be re-upped in February of 2006. The Foundation and the landlord felt that in order to renew the lease of the theatre, significant community support for repertory film programming at the Brattle needed to be clearly demonstrated. Both parties now believe that a solid base exists for a sustainable and stable film program at the Brattle Theatre thanks in large part to the significant response to the beginning of the Preserve The Brattle Legacy campaign.

In addition to an extended lease term, Brattle Square Associates has temporarily lowered the monthly rent on the Brattle Theatre space, has agreed to put aside the debt that the foundation has accrued with them until the beginning of 2007, and has agreed to work with the foundation in exploring ways in which the property taxes (a major expense) can be reduced. With this, Brattle Square Associates have reiterated their commitment to preserving the Brattle Theatre as a cultural space and the Brattle Film Foundation is looking forward to cooperating on making sure that creative repertory film programming remains a vital part of Cambridge’s cultural make-up.

Of course, despite this major development, the war is not yet won. The Preserve The Brattle Legacy campaign has raised over $250,000 in just under four months – a major accomplishment, but only bringing the foundation halfway to its goal of raising $500,000 by the end of the campaign. A portion of the funds raised so far will be put directly into increasing both the Brattle Film Foundation’s marketing budget and its development staff. “We feel certain that through expanding our fundraising and marketing capacity we will be able to further stabilize the Brattle’s budget,” says the foundation’s executive director, Ivy Moylan, “It is imperative that the foundation move away from a reliance on ticket sales and towards a balance between earned income and continued community support. That is the true key to sustainability.”

“While the prospect of extending our fundraising deadline is very exciting and the most recent developments both in fundrasing and with our landlord are thrilling, we can’t afford to stop,” says Brattle Film Foundation creative director, Ned Hinkle, “We hope to impress upon our supporters and those who have not yet contributed that, while we have many successes under our belt, there is still a long way to go. We do need to raise a significant amount of money over the next 12 months and we will continue to struggle for attention in an arts scene that is quite crowded.”

The BFF is committed to carefully curated programming, driven by presenting films based on quality, diversity and cultural value not by garnering high-ticket sales. Viewing film is a community as well as personal experience and films should be seen as they were meant to be seen – in an auditorium, on a large screen, with an audience of strangers, surrounded by the sounds and feel of a traditional movie theatre. It is exactly this type of movie-going experience that the Foundation is working to retain.

“We are committed to keeping our programming quality high and our accessibility broad so that we can continue to stay true to the goals established by the Brattle Theatre's founders,” says Hinkle, “We have been fortunate to raise enough money in 2005 so that we won’t have to compromise our programming goals and so that we can increase our staffing capacity and marketing budget. Hopefully you will be seeing a renewed presence for the Brattle around Boston and across the country for the rest of 2006 and into the future.”

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2 Comments

  • dje | February 4, 2006 5:28 AMReply

    If I may ask, where did you get this information? When I was at the Brattle last night, I saw no such announcement anywhere, only to return to my trusty computer and see this.

    It is indeed good news. Doesn't mean I'll be missing any shows because the pressure's off. That's my biggest fear: that people will stop going because of the lack of urgency. Here's hoping the theater remains as packed as last night with Aguirre: The Wrath of God.

  • robbiefreeling | February 3, 2006 6:34 AMReply

    Good news indeed....although there's a long Brattle battle to go, it seems. The thought of this cultural institution dying is terrifying in the extreme...everything around the Brattle in Harvard Square has become either a Borders or a Starbucks...the closing of the Brattle would be a major blow not only for cinephilia but for the cultural landscape of the entire city.