DC’s “anti-profit worker-run community film co-op”

Back around 1975 in DC, the Magic Lantern Cinema began and ran for at least six years. Here is a 1981 article discussing the lessons learned about this kind of film co-op:

“Radio City Music Hall it ain’t,” is how the Washington Star described the Magic Lantern Cinema. “An anti-profit worker-run community film co-op” was the first formulation that Magic Lantern organizers came up with for themselves back in the fall of 1975. Lately, the catchword has become “DC’s alternative film theater” — more vague but also more accurate. During its first five years, Magic Lantern has gone through a number of changes — in philosophy, politics, personnel and program. The general goals, however, have remained fairly constant. We seek to provide a showplace for independent and political films that do not receive theatrical distribution, and to do so in a setting that is “more than a movie house” and that supports and contributes to political education and activity in and around Washington, DC…

Five years ago, Washington DC’s worker-run cooperative community was still strong — a network of food coops, “anti-profit” bookstores, record stores, print shops, plant stores, etc.. At that time, two former film programmers at Catholic University who had become part of the network (one working at a food coop, Glut, and the other at the record shop, Bread and Roses) decided to set up an ongoing film series. Bread and Roses (bankrupted just twelve months ago by slumping sales and a whopping back tax bill) provided $100 as a loan for an experimental film series.

To read further: http://www.ejumpcut.org/archive/onlinessays/JC24-25folder/MagicLanternCinema.html

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