"A little bit of us would go with it" by Kathy Weiss


In 1989 I spent a semester in London as a social work student. When I had free time I went to the cinema and saw many wonderful films…documentaries and indie films, obscure films.

When I returned to Fort Wayne I was in withdrawal. Where would I get my “fix” of smart, funny, controversial films? Certainly not at the big box theatres. They had the run-of-the-mill “blow them up” movies that appealed to the common denominator…money making.

The thoughtful films were to be found only at Cinema Center.

Cinema Center is a gem in the midst of Fort Wayne. Only at Cinema Center can one find films to stir the soul and mind, films to provoke, to take us from the ordinary. Only at Cinema Center can we find films that lift us up or provoke us into thought.

If Cinema Center is to carry on our spirit it is up to us to support its spirit. Without the digital projector Cinema Center would go dark. If that were to happen a little bit of us would go with it.

Keep the lights on. Keep the spirit going. Keep our spirits going.




Kathi Weiss is a cinephile who supports her habit by teaching psychology at Ivy Tech.
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"Finding my community" by Kathy Bock


Some people have big, loving families. Some have church. Others have clubs and social groups. Me? I’ve always had Cinema Center. It’s the one place I go to feel connected. To be among like-minded individuals. To find a true sense of community. (Which, come to think of it, is kind of odd for a place where everyone sits alone in the dark.)

But Cinema Center is more than great movies. Shoot, if that’s all you want, you can just plant yourself on the couch and hit “Play.” And quite often I do, getting more than my money’s worth out of Netflix, DVDs and umpteen on-demand options. But comfy as my couch is, I always come back to Cinema Center.

Why? Maybe it’s because I like walking in the door and being handed a tub of popcorn by Caroline (who knows I’m a member and I take my popcorn plain).

Maybe it’s because Cinema Center is intimate, friendly and always costs less than the big theater chains. Actually, if you’re a member, it’s crazy cheap – just 5 bucks and the popcorn is free. And that’s not even counting the scads of free films Cinema Center shows as a public service to the community. What other theater does that?

Then there are the events. Nobody throws a party like Cinema Center. I’m thinking Good Burger Night, Artament, Braineaters’ Ball, the recent Hitchcock-themed Oscar Party, a poetry night for On the Road… Honestly, every time I check the website, there’s something quirky and fun coming up. Right now I’m over the moon about Cinema Center showing the original King Kong outdoors on the side of the Arts United building this summer. How cool will that be?

Of course, one of the main reasons I come to Cinema Center is because it’s home for me. This is where I belong. I first attended a Cinema Center movie back in 1979 when I was fresh out of college. I’d just moved to town and was looking for a place to go on a Saturday night so I wouldn’t feel so alone. I found it at Cinema Center.

In those days, the movies were shown at the Unitarian Universalist Meeting House on a finicky projector that made a lot of racket and broke down with alarming regularity, but that didn’t deter me. I’d found my people – and my kind of movies: North by Northwest, 8 ½, Mr. Hulot’s Holiday, Harold and Maude, A Place in the Sun, Throne of Blood, My Dinner with Andre, La Strada… Where else but Cinema Center was I going I see great films like these projected on a big screen? And where else could I go by myself and still be among friends?

Over the years, Cinema Center has grown and changed with the times, but it still shows the best movies in town and it’s still my favorite place to go on a Saturday night.

A few years back, I decided to throw myself a big 50th  birthday bash. So naturally, I rented out Cinema Center  and invited 100 of my closest friends to see Moonstruck, my favorite film. It was as close as I’ve come to a full-circle moment, having so many friends and relatives in the place where my adult life really began – the place that’s always been like a second home to me. (I get a little verklempt just thinking about it.)

But now, I understand that Cinema Center is threatened. If we don’t go digital, we go dark. Simple as that. We must raise $50,000 to buy a digital projector or it’s lights out. The industry is forcing the change, but it’s the community that must come together to save Cinema Center. I’m confident we can.

Won’t you please give generously to Cinema Center’s Digital Projector Fund? Do it for the arts. Do it for Fort Wayne. Do it for movie lovers like you and me, so together, we’ll always have that home in the dark.

See you there some Saturday night, okay?



Kathy Bock is a freelance advertising copywriter and three-time Cinema Center board member. She wants readers to know that even though she favors Saturday night screenings, Cinema Center is open seven days a week and now offers discounted weekday matinees. 
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"Nowhere else but Cinema Center" by Cathie Rowand


I love a good documentary and I don’t recall any of the for-profit box theaters in town ever offering one. I don’t even think mainstream documentaries like What the Bleep Do We Know or Chris Rock’s Good Hair showed anywhere else but at Cinema Center.

A recent favorite of mine was David Turnley’s presentation of his movie Shenandoah, a film he has been working on since 2008. Turnley accompanied the presentation of his film and answered questions afterwards. In a relatively small city like Fort Wayne, such opportunities wouldn’t happen if it weren’t for Cinema Center.

The bottom line is: if it isn’t a profit maker, then the movie is not going to show at our local theaters. At Cinema Center gems from small distributors have been brought in for the simple reason that it is a great movie or thought-provoking. Now Cinema Center needs our help in updating to a new digital projector. Many donations of whatever you can give will pay for this and allow Cinema Center to continue offering opportunities that help make Fort Wayne the special city that it is.

Help Cinema Center go digital by donating to the Digital Projector Fund today.



Cathie Rowand is a photojournalist who wants to be a documentary filmmaker when she grows up.
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"New love and an abiding presence" by Barb Wachtman


It was the fall of 1997 and I had just started dating “this new guy” who was sweeping me off my feet. I ran into then Cinema Center director Cathy Lee in a book store and told her about “this new guy.” Cathy immediately advised me to see Masayuki Suo’s new movie Shall We Dance. “It’s a great date movie,” she promises.

She wasn’t kidding! Sensuous, funny, hot, well-sculpted characters, a universal story told new and memorable. For many months after that Tom (this new guy) and I took sharp corners when walking, just like the protagonist’s up-tight boss in Dance. Even in public places. Isn’t it silly the things people do during new love? And we turned many sharp corners!

When I told my husband Tom – “this guy” and I married in 1998 – about remembering Shall We Dance, I walked in exaggerated sharp corners and we both laughed. Since Shall We Dance, we have seen countless movies at CC together, we have become patron members, attended fundraisers and bought memberships as Christmas gifts for Tom’s son.

Beyond giving us a great “date movie” early in our courtship, Cinema Center has given us the gamut of great art as film from thoughtful movies such as The Lives of Others to lifetime love stories such as Amour.

Cinema Center was there to launch our relationship and has remained an abiding presence. We still turn sharp corners occasionally and always share a smile after the turn. It’s what great art during special moments does: tattoo itself to your memory and, if you’re lucky, on your heart, too. 

Help Cinema Center go digital by donating to the Digital Projector Fund today.


Barb Wachtman is a passionate writer, communicator, community volunteer and Cubs fan. Like the cliche, she lives to laugh, learn and love. 

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"Worth our support" by Adie Baach

We have been fans and supporters of Cinema Center since its move to Clay Street. Recently, we saw "Renoir," a marvelous film to be seen nowhere else in Fort Wayne. That has always been Cinema Center's aim and place in our city: to show the finest independent films available, no matter their political correctness or their universal appeal. In our growing homogenous culture, this is a rare and noble aim. Surely worth our support!




Help Cinema Center go digital by donating to the Digital Projector Fund today.



Adie Baach is a past Cinema Center Board President and still a dedicated community volunteer.



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