I find myself wondering if the Castro‘s business model, or something like that, would work at the Cerrito. By that I mean revival series built around a theme (a director, a composer, or a genre), occasional first run, and renting the place out for film festivals. Few major festivals have an East Bay venue, and the Cerrito has some major advantages over the Pacific Film Archive (not the least of which is good food, as opposed to a no food allowed policy).
The festivals, which don’t require booking on the part of the theater, could be a real boon. People tend to stay at them all day, increasing concession traffic, a biggie at the Cerrito. And I for one would love to have Indiefest, Noir City, and others run East Bay auxiliaries at the Cerrito. (Considering programmer Will Viharo’s love of B movies and regular ThrillVille series, I’m sure he’d love to host next month’s Another Hole in the Head festival.
True, the Cerrito isn’t the Castro. The neighborhood doesn’t get huge foot traffic, and the theater isn’t big and beautiful enough to be a destination on its own (although it’s one of the nicest physically in the East Bay).
But it has some advantages. It’s near BART and plentiful free parking, making it easier to get to whether or not you want to burn carbon. It has two screens, which is esthetically a disappointment but provides more freedom in booking. The food is much better. And it has couches.