Downtown Crowd

Community Cinema

Perhaps the most underrated form of human creativity is cinema art, as few truly appreciate film’s unique language and aesthetic all its own. Here enters Pensacola Cinema Art (PCA): a nonprofit that began screenings in February 2015, offering the community the chance to view indie films otherwise not shown in the area. Spearheading and facilitating the appreciation of film in our area is Jim Norton, who founded Gulf Breeze Cinema (now known as Tree House Cinema), as well as PCA in 2014, and he volunteers his time to PCA as its primary programmer and consultant. Downtown Crowd caught up with the cinema savant to discuss upcoming showings and plans for Pensacola’s only nonprofit serving up cinema to the community.

Tell us a little about yourself and your role at Pensacola Cinema Art.

I’m retired and I live in Wisconsin in the summer season, then Gulf Breeze in the winter season.  I volunteer my time to Pensacola Cinema Art. I had partial ownership in over 20 theatres, mostly in Florida and Wisconsin, and I handled film buying and booking for these theatres before my retirement.

In your own words, what is Pensacola Cinema Art?

The mission of Pensacola Cinema Art is to bring art films and other cinema to Downtown Pensacola. In addition to myself, we have three volunteers that help out with operations. Although we are a nonprofit separate from the Pensacola Film Festival, we work together with the film festivals to help bring the art of cinema to the community.

Guide us through your film selection process.

The community can either call or email me to make requests for any films they are interested in. We try to program limited release art films, which are not playing at other theaters to widen the choices for the viewers. In most cases our films are not playing at Tree House Cinema in Gulf Breeze, Crescent Theatre in Mobile, or Carmike Cinemas in Pensacola. We play a lot of documentaries and foreign language films, but we also show all of the Oscar-nominated short films.

Explain a typical film showing at Pensacola Cinema Art.

We have a casual, personal atmosphere at the cinema inside Voices of Pensacola, and we try to talk to each viewer. Either myself or Rodney O’Rear, one of our volunteers, introduces each film to our audience, then takes time for questions and answers after the showing. We introduce each film to our audience before we present it. We present our films in high definition Blu-Ray projection. We have also recently purchased a new sound system.  Whenever possible we present our films in closed captions, too.

Is there anything else you’d like to share about Pensacola Cinema Art, which you think our readers should know?

As Downtown Pensacola continues to grow we plan to increase our number of screenings. So, we want to thank our customers, volunteers and the UWF Historic Trust for all their help with Pensacola Cinema Art. We welcome donations, but more than that we simply ask people to spread the news about Pensacola Cinema Art by word of mouth and via social media.

A Sneak-Peek at Upcoming Showings

Sunset Song
Sept. 1 and Sept. 3
Agyness Deyn, Peter Mullan
This period drama, courtesy of Magnolia Pictures, deals with the internal struggle of an individual’s battle for independence against the rigid conformity of the society around her. The story focuses on Chris, a quiet intellectual who is desperate to escape the brutality of her rural community, but the arrival of both love and war change her life forever.

Tale of Tales
TBA Fall 2016
Salma Hayek, John C. Reilly
Brace yourselves for a foreign film that blends horror and fantasy in a tale spun around the King of Highhills who is obsessed with a giant flea, two mysterious sisters who provoke the passion of a royal leader, and the Queen of Longtrellis who embarks on a bitter quest prepared to pay the highest price.