ABOUT AMHERST CINEMA

Amherst Cinema is an independent, nonprofit arts and education center brimming with world-class programs! Our comfortable, fully accessible theater offers state-of-the-art projection and sound and is a welcoming crossroads for all.

We present over 200 films a year on four screens in more than 20 languages, plus a stunning array of international theater, dance and music performances in HD.  

Our groundbreaking arts education program for school children uses the immense power of cinema to teach young learners how to write their own stories. 

Our mission is “To inspire, inform and entertain through the universal language of cinema arts and to serve as a cultural and educational resource for all.”

 

PROGRAMMING

► Current–Release Films – the core of our programming

▪ Oscar® winners, major art house hits, and scores of international and independent features, documentaries and shorts.

▪ First-run films on 4 screens 365 days a year.

 

► Film Series, Special Screenings, Retrospectives

▪ Programs that highlight issues of the day and explore film genres and topics.

Examples:  ALS, animation, art, baseball, beekeeping, Cambodian rock music, country music, environmental films, Family Film Series films, film history, films made of great books, food policy, French language, Haiti, high school poetry slams, jazz, literacy in a world of screens, the City of Tokyo, peacekeeping, photography, national oil policy, Tibetan culture, terrorism, and Yiddish language and literature.  Our Science on Screen Film Series has explored a great range of topics, including astronomy, artificial intelligence, cell biology, fertility, memory, the physics of time travel, the psychology of hoarding, the science of sleep, sports concussions, and viruses and epidemics.

▪  Retrospectives

Film series featuring favorite actors and directors and masterpieces that changed the way films were made and watched. 

Examples:  Bogart, Chaplin, Hitchcock, French Film, Jean Luc Godard, Kubrick, Lynch, Italian Film, Wim Wenders.

Collaborations with other nonprofits, museums and with our region’s institutions of higher learning. 

Program partners have included Amherst College, CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture), Dakin Animal Shelter, DEFA Film Library - UMass Amherst, The Emily Dickinson Museum, The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, Hampshire College Creative Media Institute, Hitchcock Center for the Environment, The Karuna Center for Peacebuilding, New England Public Radio, The Smith College Museum of Art, NEPR (Public Radio), a consortium of Women’s Studies programs, and The Yiddish Book Center.

► Visiting Filmmakers & Artists

Screenings hosted with internationally known and emerging artists. 

Over 100 filmmakers have graced our stage, including Charles Burnett, Ken Burns, Ian Cheney, Alex Gibney, Barbara Hammer, Siegfried Kühn, Penny Lane, Cynthia Lowen, Ivy Meeropol, Luke Meyer, Brett Morgen, Hanna Sawka, John Sayles, and Amy Ziering.

For info about upcoming filmmakers’ visits:  http://amherstcinema.org/films-and-events/filmmaker-visits

 

► Special Guests

Programs with actors, politicians, activist, writers, musicians and other notables. 

Guests have included Kathleen Turner, John Hodgman, Peter Blanchette, Ralph Nader, Joseph Sebarenzi, and Nobel physicist Dr. Sheldon Lee Glashow.

► Plays, Dance and Music in HD

▪ Plays from Britain’s National Theatre and Broadway

▪ Moscow’s legendary Bolshoi Ballet

▪ Musical performances from the Berlin Philharmonic and others 

 

► Arts Education for School Children 

▪ Amherst Cinema’s See-Hear-Feel-Film program uses the immense power of the visual image to teach third graders how to write their own stories.  Third grade is an age when children are especially receptive to language learning. 

▪  Over 1,000 school children participate each year from public schools throughout the Pioneer Valley.  Over half of the students come from underserved public schools and all attend on scholarship.

▪ More about See-Hear-Feel-Film: http://amherstcinema.org/education

 

FACILITY

▪ Our three-screen main theater was newly built in 2006 and features state-of-the-art projection, Dolby sound and comfortable stadium seating. 

▪ Our intimate Studio Theater, located just steps away, opened in 2013 and provides a venue for an even greater range of film gems.   Many of these films will never be seen in commercial theaters or be available on demand. 

▪ Amherst Cinema can be reached by foot, public transportation and automobile and is a part of a vibrant downtown center. 

▪ All of our theaters are fully wheelchair accessible and offer assistive hearing devices. 

 

PROGRAMMING DECISIONS

▪ All decisions about film selection are made by our own programming experts who know film and our audiences, and who love film, as our audiences do.

▪ Connie White of Balcony Booking, www.balconybooking.com  and David Mazor of Amherst MA program our first-run films. Connie White also handles most booking arrangements for our theater.

 

OUR ORGANIZATION

▪ Our Members and patrons come from throughout Western Massachusetts and beyond. 

▪ We are proud to be a unique arts destination in Western Massachusetts and a part of the rich cultural economy of our region. We offer programs seen nowhere else within 100 miles. 

▪ Amherst Cinema Arts Center, Inc. is an IRS 501(c)(3) tax-qualified nonprofit.  All gifts are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.  Our federal tax ID # is 04-3456950.  We are governed by a volunteer Board of Directors committed to fulfilling our mission.

 

MEMBERSHIPS AND ANNUAL FUND

▪ As with other arts organizations, ticket revenues cover only part of our costs.  We depend on our wonderful Members and supporters to sustain our programming, through Memberships and gifts to our Annual Fund.

▪ Memberships matter!  Click here to join or renew.

▪ Your gift makes a difference!  Click here to contribute securely online.

 

HISTORY 

The historic Amherst Cinema Building dates back to 1879, when a livery was erected on the site of the former Amherst Academy. After a major downtown fire in 1926, the structure was sold, renovated, and opened as a single-screen cinema.  In 1999, after years of neglect and deterioration, the privately-owned cinema was forced to close.

2000 – 2005: A sustained vision

In 1999, a group of local visionaries and arts lovers formed the nonprofit Amherst Cinema entity to save the historic structure from the auction block. With generous help from hundreds of individuals, institutions and businesses, the group raised nearly $3 million for a new nonprofit Amherst Cinema.

 

2006:  A new beginning

▪ In May 2006, our nonprofit broke ground and built a state-of-the-art, three-screen cinema. The new Amherst Cinema opened November 22, 2006, and quickly built a loyal and dedicated audience and Membership base.

Membership support and gifts to our Annual Fund are critical to our programming.  These two forms of support make our programming possible and have also sustained the cinema through several unexpected events, including the 2008 recession and the costly 2013 film industry shift from 35mm to digital projection.

▪ In 2013, Amherst Cinema opened the intimate Studio Theater, located just steps away from the main cinema building. With 25 seats, this space provides a space for screening film jewels that would not otherwise be shown within 100 miles.   

▪ Thanks to help from hundreds of film lovers, Amherst Cinema also kept the Pleasant Street Theater in Northampton open and operating for over four years, until the theater’s closing in 2012.  The PST was a beloved venue for independent film for over 30 years.  

 

LOOKING AHEAD

▪ On November 11, 2015, Amherst Cinema commenced a year-long celebration of its 10th anniversary year. 

 

▪ We are excited about imagining the future at Amherst Cinema!