As art house theaters go, our little Coral Gables Art Cinema is quite the charmer. And while they've garnered lots of local acclaim over the years (including Best Of awards from this publication), they've remained relatively bereft of national attention. But no more. The artsy outpost has finally earned its first national nod.
The cinema was recently awarded a $7,000 grant designed to boost its science-themed programming. And according to Cinema Director Robert Rosenberg, they're going to use it for some very cool, very creative stuff. Think dinosaurs, robots, and genetics.
The theater is one of only 20 across the U.S. receiving the grant, which is funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Coolidge Corner Theatre's Science on Screen series.
"The idea is that it gives us a little extra money to create programs that deal with science education around films we're showing," Rosenberg says.
Creative freedom is part of the deal. Past grant winners have shown everything from an erotic film paired with a talk on the physiology of sex to a sleepwalking flick paired with a discussion on sleep disorders. There's wiggle room, for sure.
"You can get as bold and creative as you want with that idea," Rosenberg adds.
Because the theater is the only non-profit with 3-D capability in South Florida, it also offers some unique opportunities.
"We're just in the beginning of being in the planning stages," he says. "We could bring in some 3-D film that deals with fantasy or science fiction. You could even bring in Star Wars - there's always something you can talk about with science fiction and fantasy."
At the moment, they're still in the brainstorming phase, and Rosenberg is tossing around all kinds of ideas.
"I've thought about robotics. We previously showed a film funded in part by Sloan called
Robot and Frank that dealt with the near future and an older man who had a robot assistant. It's very funny, kind of a black comedy, and that would have been perfect. We could have robotics lab people come in and talk about, is it possible? Where are we today? Bring in sample robots. I thought, what a great fun add-on."
The concept of merging science and film is nothing new to Rosenberg, who graduated with a biology major and worked in a microbiology lab before he made the switch to the arts.
The grant requires the cinema to do three science-themed screenings within a ten-month period, but if they love the concept, they could potentially do more, Rosenberg says. As far as launch date for the first flick, they're thinking winter 2014.
Get stoked, people. We could all use a little more schooling in the sciences, because learning about meth cooking via Breaking Bad really doesn't count.
You can check out the Coral Gables Art Cinema lineup and future plans at gablescinema.com.