Film Forum is a nonprofit movie theater at 209 West Houston Street in Greenwich Village, Manhattan. It began in 1970 as an alternative screening space for independent films, with 50 folding chairs, one projector and a $19,000 annual budget. Karen Cooper became director in 1972. Its current Greenwich Village cinema (on Houston Street, west of Sixth Avenue) was built in 1990. Film Forum is a 4-screen cinema open 365 days a year, with 280,000 annual admissions, nearly 500 seats, 60 employees, 4500 members and an operating budget of $5 million. Film Forum is the only autonomous nonprofit cinema in New York City and one of the few in the United States of America. In 1994, Film Forum was honored with a Village Award by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, even though it is technically in Soho. In 2018, Film Forum had a major renovation, adding new seats (and in turn, more leg room) and a fourth theater.
Film Forum presents two distinct, complementary film programs – NYC theatrical premieres of American independents and foreign art films, programmed by Karen Cooper and Mike Maggiore; and, since 1987, repertory selections including foreign and American classics, genre works, festivals and directors' retrospectives, programmed by Bruce Goldstein. Their third screen is dedicated to extended runs of popular selections from both programs, as well as new films for longer engagements. In January 2013 Goldstein started a series called Film Forum Jr. which shows a classic film appropriate for children and their parents.
Film Forum has helped put many directors on the map. Filmmakers such as Agnès Varda, D. A. Pennebaker, Christopher Nolan, Kelly Reichardt, Ramin Bahrani and many others have praised the art house and repertory cinema.
- "Past Village Award Winners". GVSHP.org. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
- "How Influential Is Film Forum? Christopher Nolan and Others Explain". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
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- Other art houses in Manhattan