Cork's Kino arthouse cinema to close over debt to architects

Wed, Oct 28, 2009, 00:00

AN INDEPENDENT arthouse cinema is to close next month after creditors initiated High Court proceedings to recover more than €50,000 owed to them for design work.

Mick Hannigan, who owns the Kino Cinema in Cork, confirmed yesterday he has decided to close the cinema after being served this week with High Court papers over the debt which he owes to a firm of architects.

Mr Hannigan said the debt arose from a plan he developed in 2003 to expand the 188-seat single-screen cinema into a three-screen facility with a total capacity of some 360 seats.

“We had got a grant of €750,000 from the Arts Council and the Film Board for the project which was costing around €3 million in total. I had managed to secure substantial borrowings but we were still left with a shortfall of around €1 million,” he explained.

“Because of that shortfall, we were unable to proceed with the work so we never drew down the grant money but . . . we had to do a considerable amount of preparatory work including getting a design done and that’s where the debt stems from.

“It’s ironic really that our plan to actually expand the arthouse facilities in Cork has now resulted in the city losing its only dedicated arthouse cinema,” said Mr Hannigan, who established the Kino in a former pool hall on Washington Street in November 1996.

“It poses a real question about the future of arthouse cinema in Cork – a university city that prides itself on its commitment to culture and to festivals and which is well known for its celebration of film through the Cork Film Festival,” he said.

Mr Hannigan, who is also the director of the Corona Cork Film Festival, said he was hopeful the creditors would not seek to enforce a seizure-of-goods summons immediately as the cinema is scheduled to host a number of screenings during the festival, which starts next week.

In addition to the debt owed to the firm of architects who carried out the design work, Mr Hannigan confirmed that the Kino also owed money to a number of service providers, but said the entire debt was less than €100,000.

Mr Hannigan said the onus for providing any arthouse cinema in Cork would now mostly likely fall on public bodies such as Cork City Council and the Arts Council as it was unlikely that any private investor would take on such a venture on their own.