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Announcing Fairfax Cinema!  (Cinefamily Part 2?)

While we’ve been waiting patiently for updates from Cinefamily leadership, it appears that for months Dan Harkham & the old Cinefamily team have been quietly making other plans…

Harkham served as Treasurer on Cinefamily’s Board of Directors and collected rent from Cinefamily as the reported owner of the Silent Movie Theater.  Harkham was effectively Cinefamily’s sole decision-maker: corporate filings indicate he was the ONLY person "who has the power to select members of the Board of Directors."  If the buck stopped anywhere at Cinefamily, it stopped with Dan Harkham.  [For a full explanation with documentation, please see this.]

In August, Cinefamily announced a temporary closure to “restructure . . . management and the board.”  Cinefamily made the closure permanent on November 14.  Recent press accounts noted Dan Harkham plans to renovate and reopen Cinefamily’s home, the Silent Movie Theater.

Back in October, I was regularly—and futilely—looking for updates from Cinefamily.  I imagined Harkham and the board going through a difficult few months of soul-searching as they worked hard to right the ship.  I was perhaps overly generous.

Also in October, nearly a month before Cinefamily announced it was closing, Dan Harkham filed paperwork for a new corporate entity: The Fairfax Theater, LLC.  (The Silent Movie Theater is located on Fairfax Avenue.)


The California Secretary of State website does not yet indicate whether Harkham will be the sole member (as with Cinefamily) or if there will be other owners.  The South San Pedro Street address listed for The Fairfax Theater is associated with many Harkham businesses and was used by Cinefamily.

My guess is Harkham intends to brand Fairfax Theater as Fairfax Cinema, judging from this website and these two Instagram accounts.

                                          Home page of Fairfax Cinema as of January 5.

                                          Home page of Fairfax Cinema as of January 5.

It is not yet clear if Harkham intends to run this as a nonprofit.  (The AG’s Registry of Charitable Trusts does include a “Fairfax Theater Company.”)  I am also not clear if there’s any affiliation with Laemmle.  (Laemmle used to run the old Fairfax Cinema at the corner of Beverly until its 2008 closure.)  No word on whether or not Cinefamily staff will be rehired, distributors and other creditors will get paid, or if the results of the Lynx investigation will be made public.

I have been hearing (unconfirmed) rumors that Harkham is getting the old band back together for this new venture.  The names in the mix reportedly include familiar Cinefamily faces like Tom Fitzgerald, Eliot Miller, Marcus Herring, and Kate Rouhandeh; buzz is mixed on whether or not Hadrian Belove will be officially involved.  I’ve reached out to these folks for comment and will update as I hear anything.

So if I’m understanding right, we may have the same space, the same line of business, the same ownership, and the same management—but a new corporate identity.  It's Cinefamily 2: Electric Bugaloo?

UPDATE: Hadrian Belove says he has "absolutely nothing to do" with this iteration.  (No replies from other Cinefamily folks yet.)

UPDATE 1/10/18: Marcus Herring and Eliot Miller report they are "not involved" with this venture.

UPDATE 1/10/18: Harkham confirms; more details emerge.