Indie Cinema Profile: Meet Coral Gables Art Cinema
Back in 2007 Steven Krams, president and executive director of Coral Gables Art Cinema, had a vision to bring independent cinema to Coral Gables. It was that year he entered into a private-public partnership between the City of Coral Gables and the non-profit Coral Gables Cinematheque.
Three years later on Oct. 5, 2010, Coral Gables Cinema opened its doors thanks to the hard work from the very early stages by their board members, led by Chairman Gustavo Pupo-Mayo, and initial director Robert Rosenberg. Running the cinema today with Krams are co-directors Ben Delgado and Javier Chavez along with Director of Programming Nat Chediak, founder of the Miami Film Festival.
“Bringing together a group of passionate film lovers is what drives the organization forward,” said Delgado. “The audience took a while to respond but once they saw what we were about, they were ecstatic.”
Now, the Coral Gables Art Cinema is the highest-grossing single-screen art house in the state of Florida. Delgado has no doubt that the positive response from Gables residents has helped them achieve that.
The Coral Gables Cinema, like any movie theater, has evolved due to its programming. Through it they have earned the confidence of not only their patrons but the distributors who own the films. That has allowed them ample opportunity to play first-rate films audiences crave, and their repertory programming has seen significant growth as a regular fixture at the venue as well.
“The latter is in part due to our weekly late-night series and through the various retrospectives we’ve held,” said Delgado. “All of this growth is thanks, in part, to new equipment, such as our 4K Barco projector that allows us to show the highest quality digital restorations possible, as well as our dual 35/70mm projectors that allow us to play some of the greatest films ever made in their original formats.”
Chediak’s vision and long-standing work in the film community has is keeping the cinema’s programming constantly evolving and growing. It has allowed for radical expansion of the group’s artistic endeavors. “It’s given way to some of the most cutting edge and culturally rich films anywhere,” said Delgado.
Community partnerships have always been important to the cinema and has allowed them to offer children’s programming since the very early days. Thanks to Cinema Board Member and Chairperson of Children & Family Programming Midge Blumberg-Krams, they have a relationship with Books & Books and the Coral Gables Museum, both across the street from the Cinema.
This spawned monthly programming geared toward children and families that eventually expanded to include the Miami International Children’s Film Festival, an annual event featuring international titles for that same audience.
Since 2011, they have been part of Family Day on Aragon and they have also had many collaborative events such as film screenings, galas, workshops, and field trips.
There have been memorable moments at the Cinema. Spain’s leading indie filmmaker, Jonás Trueba, was introduced to American audiences with a week-long retrospective of his three feature films. Trueba and his producer, Javier LaFuente, attended the opening weekend, participating in various Q&A’s and a masterclass on low-budget filmmaking.
Another highlight in their history was the visit of Palme d’Or winning director Laurent Cantet for the U.S. premiere of his film Return to Ithaca. Along with Cantet the writer Leonardo Padura and one of the stars of the film Fernando Hechevarría attended a special evening at the Cinema.
“We had a cake to celebrate Padura’s birthday and had insights from all of those present on the making of the film and its importance, especially to the Cuban community,” Delgado said.
So what’s in store for the future? “More screens,” said Delgado. “Our single auditorium is bursting at the seams with programming as we fill every nook and cranny with exciting new films.”
Coming up next month are The Silence of the Lambs Nov. 5, When Harry Met Sally Nov. 12 and The Wanderers Nov. 22. Coral Gables Cinema is located at 260 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables 786-385-9689 gablescinema.com.