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 275 programs a year on four screens in more than 20 languages.

Our innovative 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.”



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

 Connie White of Balcony Booking, www.balconyfilm.com, programs our first-run films and handles most booking arrangements for our theater. Our Executive Director, Carol Johnson, works with Connie on programming.



► Current–Release Films 

▪ This is the core of our programming: new releases on 4 screens 365 days a year.

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

► Special Events

Film series and one-time screenings that highlight issues of the day and that explore film genres and topics

Examples:  animation, art, baseball, beekeeping, Cambodian rock music, country music, the environment, Family Film Series, film history, films made of great books, food policy, French language, Haiti, high school poetry slams, jazz, the City of Tokyo, music and sound in film, peacekeeping, photography, national oil policy, Tibetan culture, terrorism, veterans' issues, 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, Bergman, Chaplin, Kieślowski, Hitchcock, French Film, Godard, Kubrick, Lynch, Italian Film, Wim Wenders.

Collaborations with nonprofits, museums and 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, veterans and veterans' organizations, and The Yiddish Book Center.

Hosting internationally known and emerging film 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.

▪ Other special guests

Programs with actors, directors, politicians, activists, writers, musicians and other notables.

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

Plays, dance and music in HD

Productions such as plays from Britain's National Theatre and ballet from Moscow's Bolshoi Ballet.

► Education Program 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. More: http://amherstcinema.org/education

▪  Over 1,500 school children participate each year from public schools throughout the Pioneer Valley.  70% of the students come from underserved public schools, and all children attend on scholarship.



▪ 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. 

▪ All of our theaters are fully wheelchair accessible.

▪ We offer state-of-the-art assistive visual and audio technology.

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



▪ Our Members and patrons come from a 25-mile radius 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 50+ 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.



▪ 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.



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 closed.

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 to build and open the new nonprofit Amherst Cinema.

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.

In 2013, Amherst Cinema opened the intimate Studio Theater, located just steps away from the main cinema building.   

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.