Sag Harbor Cinema Arts Center / Sag Harbor Partnership

CinemaInterior-©MichaelHellerSag Harbor Theater interior — photo by Michael Heller.


Long Live the Sag Harbor Cinema —

Meet the New Sag Harbor Cinema Arts Center!


The Sag Harbor Partnership, after months of negotiations, has entered into a contract to purchase the Sag Harbor Cinema from its longtime owner, Gerald Mallow.
The Partnership hopes to raise funds from private generous donors for the continuation of the Cinema’s long tradition of exceptional programming, preserved for the last 38 years by Mr. Mallow, and to expand it to include the formation of a new not-for-profit, the Sag Harbor Cinema Arts Center (SHCAC). This entity would be committed to education, outreach, and programming for all the people of the East End year-round. And, of course, the rebuilding of the Cinema would save Main Street and preserve this cultural pillar after the terrible devastation suffered in the fire that destroyed the entire front of the Cinema and adjoining buildings on December 16, 2016.
The façade of the Cinema would be rebuilt replicating renowed architect John Eberson’s original, with the iconic “Sag Harbor” sign, which has been kindly kept at Twin Forks Storage, repaired and replaced. The group hopes to have a temporary façade installed as soon as possible.
“The Village Board hopes to work closely with the Cinema Group in expediting this project,” Deputy Mayor Rob Stein said. Mayor Sandra Schroeder added, “the effort of a group of citizens to take action and turn the loss of the iconic building and landmarked sign damaged in the fire into a community arts center for the residents and citizens of the Village is both appreciated and lauded by the Board.”
“Most people don’t know that a group met back in 2009 to see about buying and preserving the Cinema when it was advertised then for sale. We were concerned that we’d lose it to some big business, and Main Street would be irrevocably changed. We reassembled again last July, with new input and members, when Gerry [Mallow] approached us about wanting to sell the Cinema to someone who’d preserve it,” said April Gornik, head of the group and Vice President of Sag Harbor Partnership. “We were set to be in contract by the end of December when the fire threw everything into disarray, but we didn’t lose hope. We’ve been working with experts for eight months to ascertain how best to rebuild the Cinema, make it profitable, and serve the community, and we’re grateful that Gerry stuck with us.”
Film writer and curator Giulia D’Agnolo Vallan of the Venice Film Festival and producer Andrew Fierberg, a member of Film Forum’s finance committee and both part of the 2009 cinema group, have laid the original vision for what will become a year-round, fully functioning Cinema Arts Center. Its programs are built on the art house tradition established Mallow to be integrated with a rich variety of retrospective programs of international cinema, as well as educational initiatives tailored to local schools and the local community, and designed to take full advantage of the wealth of artists and filmmakers here.
“The Cinema Arts Center will provide an opportunity to draw on the talents and experiences of an ever-expanding year-round community on the East End” said Susan Lacy, filmmaker and creator of the American Masters series on PBS.
Plans include the preservation of the large, historic “curved scope” screen in in the main theater (approximately 250 seats); a second with 150 seats on the same floor, and a smaller 30 seat screening room, doubling as a classroom, on the second floor. Award-winning architect Allen Kopelson of NK Architects has done its brilliant design pro bono, like all the other work done by the group. Another renovation and revenue plus will be a locally-owned and sourced cafe downstairs to satisfy hungry patrons and passers-by.
This year, the Partnership’s Big Tent party will honor Mr. Mallow and raise funds for the purchase and rebuilding of the Cinema. It will take place again in the big tent on Long Wharf on July 16th. Last year’s party hosted over 800 guests and raised more than $130,000. “A Taste of Sag Harbor,” libations from local vineyards and beverage purveyors, the magnificent HooDoo Loungers, and activities for children will again be featured.
“We expect this year’s Big Tent party for the cinema to be a blockbuster,” said Nick Gazzolo, President of the Sag Harbor Partnership. “We are fortunate to live in a community where so many people are giving of their time, talent, and money toward restoring such a cultural treasure. Main Street won’t feel whole until that famous sign is shining again. Everyone wants to see this come-back.”
All contributions to the purchase and rebuilding of the Cinema will be tax-deductible, and the Sag Harbor Partnership, a 501(c)3, is looking for hero-donors to step up for community, culture and education on the East End. One anonymous person has come forward with the first 1 million dollars.
Go to the Sag Harbor Partnership’s website,,
to stay up to date on the progress of this thrilling project!
The interior of the Sag Harbor Cinema on Main Street on Sunday, 2/7/16

The interior of the Sag Harbor Cinema on Main Street on Sunday, 2/7/16. Photo by Michael Heller.

— Sag Harbor Partnership


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