media release 4/16/03
Blinding Light!! Cinema Ends Its Five Year Run
The Blinding Light!! Cinema will be closing its doors in late July of 2003 after five years as Vancouver's - and North America's - only full time underground cinema. Primary programmer and coordinator Alex MacKenzie will continue his work as a curator in a freelance capacity as well as committing the majority of his time to his own work as a media artist.
"I always saw this project as having a time limit, so this moving on makes sense to me. As much as it has been an amazing time in my life, I am excited and itching for a change." says MacKenzie.
The Blinding Light has been a full time job for Mackenzie, who, along with a committed team of some 40 volunteers, has donated his time to the maverick cinema for the length of its run.
This will also mark the end of the Vancouver Underground Film Festival, an integral part of the cinema's public face.
"It has been an incredible five years for me, and I trust that the mark the Blinding Light has made on Vancouver culture will continue to be felt through new collectives, activities and upstarts well into the future."
The Blinding Light has been a hatching ground for a wide range of artists and experiments, cross-pollinating artistic practices and helping to encourage new modes of expression. Groups like the Eye of Newt, Multiplex Grand, The Narcopleptic Videographer and many others have been able to cut their teeth in this space allowing and taking risks that wouldn't have been otherwise possible.
Late July promises a no-holds-barred closing night bash as well as a Blinding Light Garage Sale.
Keep your eyes open for the fourth and final issue of 250W, the Blinding Light zine, available in mid-June...
Blinding Light facts
In the past five years:
- Over 200 visiting artists have appeared at the Blinding Light to present their films and videos, multimedia presentations, expanded cinema performances, live musical accompaniment to films, and more.
- The monthly Bring Your Own Film nights have resulted in approximately 180 films/videos expressly made for this night - films which wouldn't have existed otherwise.
- Over 200 collaborations, co-presentations and sponsorships of events with other organizations (Western Front, Video In, The Fringe Festival, The Vancouver International Film Festival, Cineworks, Joint Effort, Idera, and many others)
- Over 1500 different films, videos, and mixed media events have been presented
- Over 10 000 bags of popcorn have been purchased, with the equivalent of the contents of 2000 of those bags swept from the aisles by our volunteers after the audience has left.
Some of what we have learned:
- Some audiences are too big, but no audience is too small.
- Political film crowds leave a big mess behind.
- The downtown eastside rocks.
- 125 bodies in a theatre for one and a half hours in the summer actually transforms oxygen into airborne sweat.
Given the Blinding Light's membership policy ($3 per year) which it must adhere to as a non-profit society, for the final program (May/June/July 2003), the membership price will be integrated into the ticket price, so that it is $5 per person for new and old members alike.