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Gateway Film Center Reopening Soon

Hope Madden Hope Madden Gateway Film Center Reopening SoonPhoto by Walker Evans
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It’s been five long months, but Gateway Film Center is the next Columbus movie theater to turn on the projectors and pop some corn. The film center reopens Monday, August 31, with limited screenings, cashless ticketing, and extra large plans for Tenet.

“I am not a patient person,” says Chris Hamel, GFC president and programmer about the difficulty in keeping the film center shuttered for five months. “But, it was really encouraging to receive so many positive messages and kind words from our community during the closure. Staying closed was hard, but I am glad we waited until we were fully prepared to reopen.”

Hamel says he and the Gateway staff spent the time conferring with peers, including the National Association of Theatre Owners as well as Arthouse Convergence, to design a reopening plan that would keep moviegoers and staff safe. They plan to keep theaters to 30% of capacity, for instance, and online purchases of reserved seats will ensure safe distances between parties. New sanitization protocols and limited food and beverage menus are also part of the reopen strategy.

Hamel is optimistic, but there are worries.

“So many political and media leaders have politicized the pandemic,” he says. “It’s very sad. And so I am worried about people not looking out for their own safety because they are still confused or have been manipulated by the deliberate spread of misinformation.”

Still, he’s confident with the film center’s plan and he’s eager to reopen. He’s missed it.

“Immensely,” he says. “It is a privilege to be a part of this community. If nothing else, the health crisis has really reminded me of this fact.”

He’s also pretty excited to be able to show Christopher Nolan’s latest, Tenet, in 70mm. Gateway is one of only 10 theaters in the U.S. to have a 70mm print for screening. Tickets for these screenings are available now.

For those who are not yet comfortable to return to theaters, GFC continues to curate a program of new films to screen via the virtual screening room available on their website.

“So many independent venues around the country may never reopen,” Hamel says. “We feel lucky we get to return to ours.”

For tickets, film schedules and additional information, visit gatewayfilmcenter.org.

Read more from Hope at MADDWOLF and listen to her weekly movie review podcast, THE SCREENING ROOM

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