2019.030 Brave Social Cinema

BRAVE | Social Cinema is a social architectural project of Thomson Architecture, Inc. designed to develop the market for Ecological and Socially progressive design through educational cinema.  BRAVE offers a new cinematic experience for Barrie. One that is local, accessible, and above all a social experience. With our state of the art, portable projection and audio equipment and a noiseless battery power system, we are a truly mobile cinema, you simply tell us the content that interests you and provide the venue, we’ll be there! (a not for profit project of Thomson Architecture, Inc. of Barrie, Ontario)

Listen to our feature with CBC’s Wei Chan here: https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-112-ontario-morning-from-cbc-radio/clip/15735954-ontario-morning-friday-september-13-2019-part-3 (we’re featured at the intro and at 10 minutes in to the piece)

Hosting Socially & Ecologically Progressive, Community-Curated Cinema in Barrie, Ontario.  Monthly themes. Free admission for the 2019 Season.

Just like what artisanal roasters are to chain coffee shops, or what craft brew is to mass brew, BRAVE | Social Cinema provides mentally nutritious social and ecological themes as an alternative to the formula blockbusters found at your monopoly megaplex.  We tailor content to a community’s preferences and we offer screenings in a wide range of venues in your community such as local churches, friendship and community centres.  We offer feature films with an emphasis on social and ecological justice and documentaries with an aim to enlighten, challenge, educate and entertain.

It’s Cinema, but it’s also Social. Guest speakers from the community, directors, actors and individuals from the featured films will help connect the content to real life, and to inspire local action for the betterment of the community.

Anchor Screenings: The Years of Living Dangerously at the Five Points Theatre one Sunday each month (check the Schedule) and other venues every Sunday ~ generously donated by the YEARS production team for our inaugural year.

Venues for 2019:

  1. The Five Points Theatre 
  2. Barrie Public Library 
  3. Barrie Native Friendship Centre

(we are seeking community partners for our other offerings)

Monthly Themes:

  1. January: Midwinter Satire
  2. February: Black History
  3. March: Women Rising
  4. April: Labour
  5. May: Indigenous Film Festival
  6. June: Pride
  7. July: The Slow Film Festival
  8. August: Migration
  9. September: Education
  10. October: Harvest & Food
  11. November: Northern Canada
  12. December: Spirit & Health

Matinee Format, Casual, Snacks & Beverages available at the bar. Alcoholic beverages are also available at 5 Points Theatre screenings.  Quality 4K Laser UHD Digital Video

Always Sundays 3-5pm

The Future: Cozy Micro-Cinemas?

Let’s cut right to the chase: I’m an architect that loves cinema. I especially love all of the small-town cinema venues of my childhood, like The Capital Theatre in Huntsville, Ontario, or the Tivoli Theatre in Hamilton, or the Rio Theatre in Guerneville, or the O’Brien Theatre in Renfrew, ON . These are the theatres where I first saw Star Wars, Bladerunner, Titanic, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Shining and Avatar. Epic films, epic venues. What Cineplex seems to not understand, is that the Architecture also matters ~ A LOT! Movie-goers crave diversity not just in programming, but in food and even venues. For this reason, and prompted by the pending demolition of Barrie’s beloved Uptown Theatre to make way for condos, the crazy, core mission of BRAVE | Social Cinema is to raise funds for a publicly owned* theatre and multi-purpose venue in the City of Barrie. It’s crazy because even if we do a budget building, we’d need at least $2mln for the land and building. So what we’re busy demonstrating right now is that the costs for programming, licensing and equipment are the smallest budget item* and can be accomplished entirely by volunteers, like me. *PS: The 5 Points Theatre IS publicly owned by the City of Barrie, and they have offered to be our anchor venue for screenings in 2019! But ultimately this one theatre will not be enough for our growing city, and to accommodate the needs of the Barrie Film Festival and other events.

But here is a question for you; have you lost interest in going out to the movies because of the endless repetition of the same genres, tired formulas and degenerating quality of the blockbuster schlock at your local megaplex?

Do you tire of walking through windswept parking lots to approach sterile lobbies, ATM-style person-less ‘cashiers’, everywhere the same blue-carpets, over-priced unhealthy snacks, and relatively empty theatres? Alternatively does picking something from Netflix or other streaming services seem to offer the same level of mental nutrition that the centre aisles of the grocery store do? Does the selection, as vast as it may be, seem triflingly limited to what is available worldwide in the genre of film?

What BRAVE | Social Cinema offers:

  • Amazing films from around the world, that may have never had a box-office or festival run, and were made to make sense over money ~ irrespective of their *newness*
  • State of the art 4k UHD laser projection for intimate venues designed for ‘a group of friends’ that just happens to be zero-carbon (yes, our portable cinema equipment is solar powered!)
  • A range of viewing venues, from private homes, to schools, to black box theatres, to open fields, to geodesic domes
  • A place to meet, and share an experience, and talk about it afterwards over a drink or two
  • Pedestrian-friendly and accessible locations in the downtown core
  • Visual Education ~ Cinema that opens our eyes to people, places, cultures and ideas that may be unfamiliar to us, and that aims to unlock our biases

What BRAVE is not intended to offer:

  • Commercially lucrative, box office hits
  • Mass audience stadium style theatres with plush theatre seating
  • The same content found in Netflix, TIFF, BFF, etc. (unless it has been removed! another pet peeve of mine!)

By granting an effective monopoly in Canada to Cineplex in 2005 with the takeover of Famous Players, the competition board determined: “The Bureau is satisfied that with the implementation of the divestitures required by the Consent Agreement, the transaction is unlikely to result in a substantial lessening or prevention of competition.” (https://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/…/cb-bc.…/eng/01921.html).

But this is a kind of nuts because, hey, anyone can still compete with Cineplex if they want to, but they likely won’t be able to because it takes huge sums of money to do so. So by controlling almost all cinemas in Canada, and by aggressively shuttering independent theatres to drive traffic to their own venues, Cineplex now controls nearly 100% of the content, which means that MOST of the films I want to see never make it to a Cineplex screen.

Did you know that in 2014, “Cineplex Inc. acquired Barrie’s Bayfield Cinemas” just to limit competition and drive traffic to the Barrie North Cineplex? Did you even know there was a theatre in the Bayfield Mall? (I didn’t).

Cineplex has recently seen their shares drop as much as 47%. I don’t think this can be solely blamed on streaming at home. Cineplex has effectively numbed everyone with the monotony of their theatre design, the universally terrible food, and the utter failure to have any kind of human scale or social functionality in their acoustically ill-considered, strangely-lit lobbies.

The goal of BRAVE is to reclaim and revive the Social aspects of Cinema first, and possibly some years down the road, design and build a purpose-built, cafe & salon style cinema for Barrie to feature the rich diversity of the very best of international Cinema. BRAVE | Make Cinema Social Again!

We’ll post some concepts for Cinema Venue Design here in the coming months! * Financial data can be provided to sponsors and funding partners.

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