Cinefamily shut down

The Cinefamily shut down is now permanent. The Los Angeles independent film venue is shuttering its doors for good following various sexual misconduct allegations. Cinefamily had temporarily suspended operations in August in the wake of sexual harassment reports. Now, the Cinefamily board will dissolve and Silent Movie Theater, Cinefamily’s longtime home, will be renovated.

Cinefamily is no more. The non-profit independent film venue, which set out to “reinvigorate the movie-going experience by fostering a spirit of community and a sense of discovery” starting in 2007, is shutting down. Variety reports that board of directors issued a statement claiming that the “damage caused to the organization by the conduct of some and the crippling debt now facing the Cinefamily are, in the Board’s view, irreparable.” A combination of scandal and money woes led to the shuttering.

In September 2017, Cinefamily suspended all activities in light of allegations of sexual harassment that resulted in the exit of top executives Hadrian Belove and Shadie Elnashai. The allegations stem arose from an anonymous email detailing 2014 sexual harassment allegations against Belove and accused Elnashai, vice president of the board of directors, of “raping multiple women.”

After the story broke, internal emails were provided to BuzzFeed that revealed female Cinefamily employees complained about further sexual misconduct related to Cinefamily, including a patron who made women uncomfortable, In the wake of the allegations, actress Brie Larson, who sat on the Cinefamily’s advisory board, issued the following statement on social media:

Cinefamily closed-up shop in the wake of these stories, and now any hope of the venue returning has been dashed. In the statement announcing the end of Cinefamily, the board of directors wrote:

“While no victims emerged to corroborate the allegation of rape widely circulated in an anonymous email, the investigation identified serious concerns, including breaches of acceptable behavior alleged to have happened at Cinefamily offices and events; a climate that discouraged employees and volunteers from reporting distressing workplace incidents and/or made them feel unheard if they did so; and critical lapses in communication from the executive management to the Board.”

Variety reports that Silent Movie Theater, the longtime Cinefamily venue, will now be renovated by the landlord, and that the board will establish a transition team that will handle any lingering financial and legal affairs. The Cinefamily allegations are just another terrible addition to a constantly-expanding list of sexual misconduct allegations rooted deep within the entertainment community and beyond, from Hollywood to theater chains and more. While it is a tragedy that these deeds were committed and kept in the dark for so long, the fact that they are finally coming to light is hopefully a real sign of change in the industry. Hopefully a new organization can purchase the Silent Movie Theater now and convert it into what it always should’ve been: a place for a non-toxic community to gather and appreciate film.

You can read the full statement from the Cinefamily board of directors here.

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