Confirmed: Silent Movie Theater's Cinefamily Becomes Fairfax Cinema
Earlier this week we reported on Fairfax Theater, LLC, a new entity formed by Cinefamily's controlling member, Dan Harkham. Through a spokesperson, Harkham confirms "his new business" will be called Fairfax Cinema.
Harkham controls the Silent Movie Theater as its landlord, and was the only voting member of the Cinefamily, which he co-founded and on whose board he served as Treasurer. Harkham formed the new entity approximately one month before announcing the closure of Cinefamily; he has not spoken to the press since Cinefamily closed amidst a sexual harassment scandal last year. Numerous creditors remain unpaid. [Disclosure: I am a creditor and Harkham has not responded to any of several direct outreach efforts by me.]
Erin Hensley says she will be the managing director of Fairfax Theater. Hensley was previously the accountant at Cinefamily. She provided no other details about personnel, timeline, ownership partners, or business structure, but expressed an openness to further communication, noting "hearing from the community is a welcomed [sic] breath of fresh air!"
So here's the questions we're left with...
How is this a "new" business? For that matter, how is Dan Harkam's company a "tenant" of Dan Harkham's building? That seems like a weird way to characterize the situation. When the owner of a theater closes the Cinefamily (which he controls) and opens Fairfax Cinema (which he controls), I think most people would call that a "rebranding," not a "new tenant."
Where does this leave Cinefamily's creditors? Cinefamily members are owed refunds, distributors and contractors report not being paid, several staff have wage claims pending, and reportedly Harkham & Cinefamily aren't returning calls. (Despite claims to the contrary, Cinefamily continues to exist, legally speaking.)
Where does this leave Cinefamily's laid-off staff? Will they be offered their jobs back? What will be done to ensure a safe and responsible working environment in light of the credible allegations in the press?
According to Cinefamily's lawyer, when the organization closed they were $70,000 in debt, despite having a reported $2 million annual budget. The two Cinefamily alum confirmed at Fairfax Theater are the former accountant (Hensley) and the former treasurer (Harkham). (Okay, that's not a question, but come on.)
What other Cinefamily alum are signing up with Harkham? Despite early buzz, Marcus Herring, Eliot Miller, and Hadrian Belove have all denied involvement. Neither Tom Fitzgerald nor Kate Rouhandeh have replied to a request for comment.
I'll follow up with Hensley and pose these questions to her. What questions would you want to ask Harkham and Hensley?