Campaign launched to stop Cork's Kino cinema closing

 

HOPES THAT Cork’s independently owned Kino cinema may be saved from closure received a major boost over the weekend when more than 300 people attended a public meeting to launch a campaign to save the facility.

Kino owner Mick Hannigan confirmed that a special steering committee has been put in place following the public meeting to both raise funds to pay off a debt of about €60,000 and to develop a business plan to put the 188-seat cinema on a sound financial footing.

Mr Hannigan said he was “hugely encouraged” by the public response, with over 4,000 people signing up to a new website, savethekino.com, and by the response at political and civic level to efforts to try and save the cinema.

He said he was “cautiously optimistic” for its survival.

Among those who attended Saturday’s meeting were Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin, Fine Gael TD Deirdre Clune, Labour TDs Kathleen Lynch and Ciarán Lynch, and Senator Dan Boyle. All of the politicians pledged to lobby for support for the cinema.

Mr Hannigan told the meeting at the Cork Opera House that the Kino is facing two separate problems: an immediate High Court action brought by its main creditors seeking payment of €50,000; and a more long-term problem of making the cinema financially viable.

It is understood an adjournment will be sought by the Kino in the High Court today on an application by Dennehy and Dennehy Design for payment of a €50,000 debt.

Mr Hannigan said this will give the cinema “some breathing space”.

“This time last week, I was resigned to having to close the Kino but it’s clear now that people not only care about the Kino but are willing to put their hands in their pockets and hold fundraisers – there’s still a lot of work to be done but the clouds are starting to lift,” he said.

Mr Hannigan said he hopes to meet Cork City manager Joe Gavin later this week. He agreed that some significant change would have to take place in the management structure and business model underpinning the Kino if it is to survive.

“Long term, the Kino has to be put on a financially sustainable footing and that will have to involve not just some upgrade and development of the building but it may also involve a different type of management structure and business model.

“It’s clear that running it as a one-man private operation is not appropriate for an arthouse cinema. It’s just not commercially viable, so we will be looking at a different management model. I think myself a move to a public-private arrangement would be appropriate,” he said.

Mr Hannigan said he would have no difficulty ceding control to Cork City Council or some other public body.

“What I want to see is the legal and financial threats removed and the city to have an arthouse cinema in perpetuity and I’m not precious about how that is achieved.”

Meanwhile, wearing his other hat as director of the Corona Cork Film Festival, Mr Hannigan said he was pleased with ticket sales to date, with last night’s opening gala film The Boys are Backselling out along with a number of other main features.

“Ticket sales started slowly but have increased significantly every day with the Coen brothers’ A Serious Man[and] Up in the Airwith George Clooney already sold out, while the Made in Cork programmes and the Slow Food Evening also selling quickly,” he said.

According to Mr Hannigan, Ang Lee’s Taking Woodstockis also selling well, as are a number of documentaries including ones on mining in Butte Montana and Irish showjumping hero Eddie Macken. For further information go to corkfilmfest.org.