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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    The Loft Cinema’s first gala to raise funds for theater renovations

    A casual night of watching cinema against the backdrop of the night sky could lead to major changes for Tucson’s premiere art house cinema.

    Cinema Under the Stars, The Loft Cinema’s fundraising gala scheduled for Saturday, is positioned to help the theater reach its goal of raising $250,000 by Dec. 31. If the goal is met by the end of the calendar year, the Margaret E. Mooney foundation has promised a matching grant.

    With the money, the theater seeks to improve their digital technology, expand on their theaters, build a new theater and connect the new theater to the existing building. They also hope to move their offices from across the street to their main campus.

    Last spring, Amy Zuckerman, a patron of The Loft who has gone to the theater for over three decades, approached Debi Mabie, The Loft Cinema’s director of development, with an idea. Zuckerman had attended a film festival in Patagonia, and was at a film viewing at someone’s house as part of a fundraiser.

    “I kind of decided that I wanted to show movies outdoors at my house so I contacted Debi about wanting to do something for The Loft because I’ve always been a big supporter of The Loft,” Zuckerman said.

    Ever since, Mabie and Zuckerman have been side-by-side, planning for the Cinema Under the Stars to offer a unique film going experience for attendees. Under a star-filled night sky, the gala will be held outside on Zuckerman’s horse ranch property, which will be outfitted with a stream of lights to enhance the ambiance.

    Both Mabie and Zuckerman said that Cinema Under the Stars aims to differentiate itself from the typical ideas associated with a gala.

    “When you say the word ‘gala,’ people automatically expect tuxedos, gowns, stilettos, silent auctions, all of that,” Mabie said. “This is not that.”

    The dress for Cinema Under the Stars is strictly casual. To add to the laidback atmosphere, there will be food trucks, which Zuckerman referred to as “mobile cuisine.”

    “We wanted to have a non-gala gala,” Zuckerman said.

    The gala, apart from raising money, also seeks to debunk any popular misconceptions about the theater.

    “For so many years, people have thought of The Loft as that place that shows ‘The Rocky Horror Picture show’ or shows second-run film, which is not what we’re about,” Mabie said.

    Cinema Under the Stars aims to reaffirm and celebrate of The Loft’s distinct position and function in the Tucson community.

    “[Attendees] can expect a reflection of what The Loft is, and that is a truly socially acceptable environment. … Film itself is a truly democratic art form … There’s no special talent or body of knowledge or anything like that that you need in order to enjoy film,” Mabie said.

    The cinema has pursued other types of fundraisers in the past, from Indiegogo campaigns to grants to asking people to donate their extra change, but Cinema Under the Stars will mark the first gala The Loft has held, Mabie said.

    Organizers expect to see approximately 165 people, with the hoped-for turnout being 200. Mabie said she’s “thrilled with the response.”

    “We really have appreciated the outward support from the Tucson community and our digital campaign, but we still have a ways to go and Tucson has really shown that they appreciate the programming that The Loft Cinema has and if they want to continue to see this programming,” Mabie added. “We really would appreciate those supporters making that happen.”

    Follow Alex Guyton @TDWildcatFilm

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