Named after the late Miami Herald Film Critic Bill Cosford, the Cosford Cinema on the University of Miami Coral Gables Campus at 60 years old is Miami’s longest running arthouse cinema.
The building itself was erected in 1947 and wasn’t a cinema at all but the Beaumont Lecture Hall. It wasn’t until the 1950s that the space was converted into a cinema and renamed the Beaumont Cinema. In 1994, the theater was renamed the Cosford Cinema.
Its rich history and testament to its longevity is a source of pride for those operating the Cosford. Trae Delellis, theater manager, said “we have remained as many other arthouses have shut down, others have opened and multiplexes took over the area.”
The re-naming to Cosford has quite a bit of history as well. Turns out that aside from being the Herald’s renowned film critic for decades, Bill Cosford was also a professor at the University of Miami. It was because of his work at UM that Cosford always championed the Beaumont.
“Cosford thought it was integral to the cultural development of Miami that there be a space showcasing art house and international cinema,” said Delellis. “I think he is an important figure in the recent renaissance of arthouse cinemas in the area over the last two years.”
The dedication and renaming came in 1994 after Cosford’s death and after renovations to the structure.
Cosford Cinema also prides itself on showcasing an eclectic mix of arthouse fare, international films and classic cinema as well independent and documentary filmmaking. The curating process for their programming entails “an examination of what occurs at various international film festivals, offerings by independent distributors, as well as what is going on in the world that would be of interest to the community,” he said.
Given the Cosford’s six decade history, the longevity is by far its most memorable milestone; however, there are others to note. They include upgrading their projection system to 4k digital as well as 3D, which Delellis says is one of the best in the area.
But in keeping with the history of film, they maintain their reel-to-reel 35mm projection so they can continue showing classic films on celluloid. They’ve also had the privilege of hosting numerous special guests, including the legendary actress and director Liv Ullmann; a retrospective of and visit from independent film icon Christine Vachon; and most recently Leonardo DiCaprio, who presented his film Before the Flood, which looks at the importance of action against climate change.
In addition to their own programing, they collaborate with and host numerous arts organizations in the area including partnering with film festivals like the Miami Jewish Film Festival, the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (MiFo), the Miami Film Festival, FilmGate, and Borscht Corporation.
As if all that programming wasn’t enough, they also host lecture series, theater productions, awards ceremonies, and are also a venue for filmmakers to work.
“We’ve also been able to host special events with organizations like the Knight Foundation and Sundance Film Institute, such as Film Forward and Sundance ShortsLab, to help local filmmakers develop their craft,” said Delellis.
Given that it’s based on a university campus, the cinema is also an artistic space for the greater community. Because of its connection with UM it is a multi-purpose space as well as one dedicated to the promotion of cinema, the arts, and intellectual curiosity.
The Cosford also plays a part in the school curriculum and is used by various departments for holding class screenings and offering supplemental films to various class curriculum.
Visit the Cosford Cinema’s website to learn about their latest program offerings and film screenings, http://www.cosfordcinema.com/