Inclusion StatementCelebrating our diverse community, The Film Lab will screen films that are inclusive of class, race, gender, sexuality, and religion, both in terms of content on screen and talent behind the camera. As a Lab, we will promote artistic collaboration and offer workshops to underserved communities.
About The Project
The Film Lab celebrates and cultivates Detroit’s film community beginning with a microcinema, bar, and maker gathering space in Hamtramck, bringing the best in new and classic world cinema to this richly diverse population.
The Film Lab will inhabit a historic former Polish Legion of American Veterans hall. The first floor features a microcinema and full bar, where patrons can gather before and after films to have a drink or snack. The second floor will eventually be converted into a two-screen movie theater where patrons can order food and drink directly to their seat. We will also host live events, such as Filmmaker Q&As, panel discussions, and workshops.
Partnering with Cinema Lamont, a 501(c)3 non-profit fostering cross-cultural understanding through the power of world cinema, The Film Lab will program international cinema ranging from restorations of masterpieces and cult classics to the latest award-winning films from the festival circuit. Ultimately, The Film Lab will foster a diverse community of film lovers and makers spanning citizenship, ethnicity, and language through inclusive dialogue and the arts.
Phase one consists of opening the bar and microcinema, set to open October 2019. Phase Two consists of building the two-screen movie theater on our second floor and will require $300,000 and about a year of construction to complete. As we get close to the finish line for phase one, we need another $20,000 to open our doors. We have a matching donor, so we just need to raise $10,000 from family, friends and strangers who will soon become our BFFs!
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About This Team
The Film Lab is a collaborative venture between Josh Gardner and Lara Sfire. Josh Gardner is the founder of Cinema Lamont, a 501(c)3 non-profit that fosters cross-cultural understanding through the power of world cinema. Cinema Lamont has presented over 100 pop-up screenings around metro-Detroit and has been awarded grants from the Knight Foundation and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. Prior to this, Josh spent six years as the Associate Film Programmer and Public Relations Manager at the American Film Institute’s Silver Theater in Washington, DC. Lara Sfire is the founder of Spitfire Productions and a filmmaker with an MFA in Directing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Sfire is the founder of the Film Shop Detroit, a collective of filmmakers who share works in progress. She is also a member of the Final Girls, a collective of female filmmakers in Metro Detroit and recipient of Knight Foundation funding.
“I'm thrilled to return to my hometown and create a space for the Detroit film community to congregate and build connections. We can't wait to see this place open!” said Sfire.
Gardner added, “Finding a permanent home for Cinema Lamont’s international film program has always been my goal, and we couldn’t be happier to put roots down in Hamtramck, the city slogan is “The World in Two Square Miles” after all!”
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