The Loft Cinema is a community backed movie theater located in Tucson Arizona. The Loft is not the typical movie theater, it is a community driven project that focuses its efforts on celebrating the art and diversity of films.
The Loft does not feature the typical line up of releases that most movie theaters do, instead The Loft features films that are both old and new, popular and unknown. The line-up of films includes well known pictures as well as lesser known ones. The Loft even goes as far as to include some community films and student films in their line-up occasionally. The largest film festival in Tucson is The Loft Film Festival. The festival at The Loft includes some films that are not viewable anywhere else, either online or at other theaters. Festivals are a rare occasion to view a film that has either not been released or will not be released in the region. The Loft not only holds the largest Film Festival in Tucson but it also hosts a smaller children's focused film festival. This type of event is very common for The Loft. Instead of being just a cinema it has become a cultural hub for the movie-going community of Tucson. The Loft often hosts viewings with themes attached to them. During October there is a night dedicated to viewing horror movie classics. Similarly, The Loft has a night dedicated to other genres including science fiction, animation and comedy. These nights are only hosted once a year but they are highly anticipated by audiences. The audience members of these nights have been known to wear costumes and themed outfits to the viewings.
The Loft is also known for the Q&A meetings that they have hosted with various directors and filmmakers. In the case of smaller directors, The Loft has had screenings of the directors film and then afterwards has a discussion session between the audience and the director. In the case of larger names The Loft has had several hosted discussion panels with influential individuals of the industry.
The Loft has a diverse schedule of films. Their goal is to entice all audience members to join the community and become an active member of their cinema culture. This is accomplished by having a variety of movies at the theater. Classics and oldies are featured as well as indie films. Local up and coming directors have had their films shown at The Loft as a premiere viewing as well.
The Loft is also well known for their contributions to the community. With the help of community partners The Loft Cinema is able to host fundraisers, charity events and educational programs at their venue. One example is the children's film festival. Much like their standard Loft Film Festival, the children's film festival is a collection of films that are featured throughout the course of a day. The children's festival is a great opportunity for younger audience members to try the festival experience.
Another example of how The Loft contributes to the community and raises awareness about different issues is their Loft Solar Cinema. Partnered with Technicians for Sustainability, The Loft has outfitted a van with solar panels that power the car as well as the projector that the car holds. The van is used to essentially have a drive-in theater on the go. Any 20 foot wall can be used as a screen and the projector, powered by the solar panels, can screen multiple films back to back. This effort was done to encourage individuals to learn more about solar panels. Solar power, especially in the state of Arizona, is sadly underutilized as a source of renewable energy. This van concept was made with the intention to help educate those who are not aware of how solar panels work. To explain that solar panels can store energy and do not require the sun to be actively on them to work, many of these screenings are done at night time. Just another way that The Loft is attempting to educate and improve the community while entertaining its audience too.
In addition to the community projects of The Loft, they also provide a chance for young filmmakers to test their work. The Loft hosts a short film contest on a semi-regular basis that allows for participants to submit their own work and possibly have it screened at The Loft. This opportunity is not a common occurrence for film makers in today's society. The chance for young artists to promote and receive criticism is an essential part of supporting the artistic community.
The Loft is a organization that has focused on celebrating the diversity of the community for the long time that it has operated in Tucson. The Loft has been a place of screening LGBT films that are not featured at other Tucson theaters. Films like Gen Silent and Laramie Inside Out are films that The Loft screens that many other theaters do not.
The Loft Cinema has received numerous awards for their contributions to both the local community of Tucson and their contributions to the cinema culture of the city. The Loft has been given several Lumie awards by the Tucson Pima Arts Council, including a Lumie for Emerging Art Organization and a Lumie for Best Established Arts Organization.
(Sidenote: A Lumie is an award granted by the Tucson Pima Arts Council)
The Loft has also been awarded a grant from the Alfred P Sloan Foundation. The grant was titled Science on Screen and was focused on bringing scientific and educational film to theaters such as The Loft. Only eight other cinemas in the US have received this grant. The Loft has a Science on Screen advisory committee made up of qualified individuals from the University of Arizona.
The Loft is also one of the few theaters selected to be a member of the Sundance Institute Art House Project. Being a member of the SIAHP allowed for The Loft to be one of the hosts for the Sundance film festivals in the years 2012, 2013 and 2014. For those who do not know what this organization is, Sundance Film Festival is arguably the most well known and popular film festival in the United States. The Sundance festivals are where many new directors are first releasing their work to the public. It is a huge occasion for such a local theater to be included in such a nationally significant event as Sundance.
For more information about the The Loft and their current screening schedules visit their website link below.