The show must go on! Locals rally round to save ‘oldest cinema in the world’ from closure
Locals in the city of Szczecin have come together to try and save one of the world’s oldest cinemas from closing down.
The city’s Kino Pionier 1907, which has seen a massive drop in ticket sales since the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis, announced on social media that it would be closing its doors on September 28th.
Manager of the cinema Jerzy Miśkiewicz told local news website wszczecinie.pl: “When we opened the cinema in June this year, after a long break, it was known that it would be a difficult time, but we hoped that the pandemic restrictions would gradually stop.
“Unfortunately this did not happen. For three months, we were constantly paying extra for the operation of the cinema.”
He added: “Currently, only a dozen or so people come to us a day, and in order to generate profit needed for our business, we need over a hundred viewers a day.
“Maybe it is also caused by nice summer weather, but also certainly people's concerns about the ongoing epidemic. Therefore, we decided to suspend operations until further notice and wait for the end of the epidemic or lifting the restrictions.”
Although cinemas are allowed to show films, because of the coronavirus no more than half the cinema seats can be sold.
The arthouse Kino Pionier, which describes itself as an “ambitious cinema for people who see film as more than just entertainment”, has officially been operating since 1909, though there are sources showing that it is even older and was already there in 1907.
In 2005, the cinema was officially recognised as the oldest cinema in the world, with a certificate from Guinness World Records.
In 2018, the title was awarded to a cinema in the United States that has been showing films since 1907.
Now locals have come together to try and raise funds to keep the cinema open with the launch of a crowdfunding initiative with help of Szczecin’s mayor.
The Wspieram.to platform says it aims to raise enough money to cover the monthly cost of running the cinema, which is at least 20,000 złoty (4,450 euros).
Posting on its Facebook page, the cinema said: “We are counting on your great, cultural movement, local patriotism, love for ambitious film and solidarity of Szczecin entrepreneurs.
“Let's protect history and culture together!”
Meanwhile, other locals have been offering to help voluntarily with staffing and technical assistance during events.
To read more about the fundraising campaign click HERE.