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Monday, April 23, 2018

ROBINSON FILM CENTER

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Celebrating its 10th birthday and gifting community free tickets in May

Robinson Film Center’s 10th birthday party will kick off a month-long celebration in honor of a decade of movie-going, bistro dining, film education and more.

The public is invited to join the celebration, from 6 until 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 1, at its downtown Shreveport location at 617 Texas St. It will include live music, champagne and birthday cake martinis, hors d’oeuvres, cake and party games with prizes. The birthday party is set on an important day for community nonprofits like RFC — Give for Good, a day of online giving organized by The Community Foundation of North Louisiana.

Meghan Hochstetler, RFC executive director, said the film center’s success is thanks to the community support it has received since 2008.

“We’ve come a long way in our first 10 years, and the generosity from the community makes it possible for us to dream where we can go in the next 10,” Hochstetler said. “It was a dream when it first started, and 10 years later, we’re still here, and we’re still driving. That is exciting, and to think that 10 years ago, this seemed almost impossible.”

When she looks to the next 10 years, Hochstetler said she wants to look to the next “impossible dream.”

“Some of the things I know we want to do as an organization is to continue to show the best movies in the world to our audience in Shreveport-Bossier,” Hochstetler said.

Expanding RFC’s media education program is also high on the list to reach more children and adults. Right now, RFC has a multi-purpose space used for events, meetings and education.

“If we had something dedicated for education, it would probably look like a classroom,” she said. “We could bring in classes from schools, but we could also hold our own classes for the community.”

The current media room is upstairs. Hochstetler said having the new room on the street level would be ideal.

“People walking by could see the great education programs we have going on,” she said. “They would see visiting artists coming in to teach or filmmaking workshops. We could hold summer camps in that space.”

Even after 10 years, there are many people who don’t know RFC exists, Hochstetler said.

“We are not a regular stop on their social circuit,” she said. “I would like to increase our presence in the community and have more people come and experience a great dinner and a movie in downtown Shreveport.”

So a big birthday party is a great place to start.

The month-long celebration at the film center will include a month of free moviegoing. All movie tickets in May will be entirely free for moviegoers.

“That’s our gift to the community,” Hochstetler said. “It’s going to be a whole lot of fun. If people come try us one time, we believe they will keep coming back.”

Abby Singer’s Bistro, the restaurant located inside the film center, will launch a new menu with bistro favorites and new dishes on May 1, as well as offer $10 lunch specials.

“Our birthday wish is for continued community support and for everyone to come toast to another 10 years at RFC’s birthday party,” RFC Board President Lea Stroud said.

In 2002, the Red River Film Society was established with the dream of founding an art film center in North Louisiana. After serving the community with programs at partner sites including area colleges, the film society successfully launched and completed a capital campaign to establish the region’s only nonprofit art house theater. With a historic building saved from demolition by the Downtown Development Authority and Downtown Shreveport Development Corporation, Robinson Film Center first opened its doors on Texas Street in May 2008.

In the 10 years since, the film center has continued to thrive, moving to digital projection in 2013 and with building improvements that have included new seats in 2014, a new marquee in 2016, and a recent renovation to the facade and lobby.

“We will continue to partner with the community,” Hochstetler said. “That’s where we’re strongest when we feature different organizations with different people from our community.

“When we are talking about huge dreams, I would love to talk about adding a third theater to our line-up,” Hochstetler continued. “We want to continue to do the best we can to be the best art house theater and dream about expanding.”

RFC continues to work hard on a small budget.

“We show independent, foreign, classic, documentary and regionally made films,” Hochstetler said. “That’s kind of our wheelhouse. We try to stay within that, while competing with national chain theaters and people’s living rooms and Netflix. So, we want to give our audiences something you can’t get on your couch.”

The Robinson Film Center’s mission is to educate, enrich and entertain through the power of film. RFC is a 501 (c) (3) not-forprofit arts organization located at 617 Texas St. in Shreveport.

–Bonnie Culverhouse

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