Hot Docs Bloor Cinema

Hot Docs makes concessions at the Bloor

For those who many not have heard, the Bloor Cinema is under new management. Hot Docs has come on board to manage the theatre, and last night they hosted an open forum to discuss what this new enterprise is going to look like.

Everyone came with their own questions, from the smaller festival runners, to former employees, to neighbourhood regulars. The tone was set early as Hot Docs Executive Director Chris McDonald shared that, in response to feedback; their programming projections had changed from % 100 documentaries to a mere 80. Yikes.

Throughout the night a number of people expressed that that was still far too many, and each time McDonald scribbled away on his note pad. This, along with his repeated assurances, was the first sign that Hot Docs is open to public feedback.

So, here are the things you want to know.

  • The prices at the Bloor will be similar to what they are now, if not exactly the same.
  • They would love to open in October, but it's looking more like November.
  • They are applying for a liquor license.

And here are more details that came out of the meeting:

  • The women's bathroom is going to have more stalls.
  • The venue as a whole is going to become more wheelchair accessible with a washroom downstairs and adapted seating on the ground floor.
  • Hot Docs would love to see the other festivals, such as the Reel Asian Film Festival and Toronto After Dark come back to the Bloor.
  • There is a desire to program more interactive experiences such as Q&A's and organized pre/post screening get togethers.

Tonight's event ended with a question, "Tomorrow what will you tell people you learned here?" My answer to that is simple. I'm hopeful. I'm hopeful, but I'm still uncertain. Until the reopening late this fall I'm going to continue to cling to that hope though. I'm going to continue to hope that my favourite theatre will keep its atmosphere, but grow, improve and somehow become something new and better.

Writing by Joel Torrens. Photo by danepstein in the blogTO Flickr pool

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