Upstate Films to Close its Woodstock Location It’s been a year of reckoning for cinemas all across the country, from 25-screen mega multiplexes down to the smallest indie art house theaters. With Hollywood's recent move toward releasing films direct to streaming platforms and COVID sequestering viewers at home, cinema owners have grappled with increasingly grim prospects. International theater giants AMC and Cineworld (which owns Regal) each reported losses of over $2 billion in 2020.
Locally, the majority of our beloved independent cinemas remained shuttered the entire year, buoyed almost entirely by the generous donations of community members. Still, hard choices had to be made. In Millerton, the Moviehouse was sold to new owners by Carol Sadlon, who ran the theater for 43 years with her late husband Robert.
Changes are afoot at Upstate Films as well, Hudson Valley’s oldest independent theater group. This week, the organization introduced its new co-executive directors. Paul Sturtz and Jason Silverman will helm the next chapter of Upstate Films’ history, starting with some big decisions that aim to pave the way for a more resilient future.
Earlier this week, Sturtz announced that Upstate Films would be closing its Woodstock location after a decade-long tenure at the Tinker Street Cinema. (The historic building’s owner hopes to re-open the theater, so stay tuned for details on that.) In its stead, Upstate Films will be launching the Hudson Valley Picture Show—a traveling al-fresco movie experience. With the purchase of a state-of-the-art outdoor screening system, including a 24-foot screen, an ultra-bright projector, and a powerful sound system, Upstate Films will be able to literally take its show on the road.
Kicking off this July and running through early fall, the Hudson Valley Picture Show will pop up at some of the Hudson Valley’s most iconic locations, screening both new-release and classic films at spots like Kaatsbaan, Opus 40, the Bearsville Center, the Omega Institute, and the City of Kingston. The entire season is being sponsored by Rhinebeck-based artisanal ice cream purveyors Del’s Roadside.
Craving the Before Times theater experience with popcorn and surround sound? Upstate Films is aiming to resume film screenings at their flagship theater in Rhinebeck in early summer. And until then, you can rent out the entire theater for a private party of up to 30 people for $525 ($450 for members). Pack the house and split the bill and it’ll be cheaper than going to the movies in New York City. Popcorn is even included. Right now, with the theater rental, you get to choose from one of the five Oscar Best Picture nominees: Nomadland (winner), Mank, Wolfwalkers, The Trial of the Chicago Seven, and Minari.