New Silent Movie Theater Lighting, But Film Community Still in the Dark
When Cinefamily was in crisis two years ago, Dan Harkham and the Board of Directors promised to communicate with members. They lied, buried a secret report, canceled a planned Town Hall, and shut down.
When Cinefamily ceased operations during the crisis, Dan Harkham and the Board of Directors promised members refunds. They lied, alternately disclaiming responsibility and claiming poverty.
When concerned members organized on Cinefamily’s Facebook page, Dan Harkham and the Board of Directors promised not to interfere. They lied, and shut down the Facebook page.
When this website reached out to the Harkhams to understand next steps, Dan and Sammy Harkham promised this time to keep the community informed. They lied, ignoring and stonewalling members.
The Harkhams last communicated over a year ago: Sammy asked CinefamilyAccountability to reserve “judgment until the facts have been presented.” We’re still waiting.
In the meantime, we at CA are in the fact-presenting business:
Fact: new seating has been installed.
Fact: new neon lighting has been installed.*
Fact: the Cinefamily website is for sale.
Fact: They have told at least one passer-by they “expect to do a fall opening with much the same program as Cinefamily.”
Fact: Fairfax Cinema still does not have the Certificate of Occupancy which would allow them to operate.
Maybe the Harkhams have a plan. Maybe they’ve figured out how to make a single screen repertory theater profitable in 2019. Maybe they’ve secretly addressed the unfinished Cinefamily business—you know, as a surprise for us. Maybe they paid their taxes and their distributors and their members. Maybe they worked with police to uncover wrongdoing rather than working with wrongdoers to obscure the facts. Maybe they’re doing things by the book and not cutting corners, with new employment practices and new operational and financial controls.
Or maybe they have no idea what the fuck they’re doing. Maybe this is all by the seat of their pants. Maybe they’re making business decisions based on ego. Maybe they found in Brilliant Consulting a PR firm to take their money and tell them what they want to hear—that no one will notice their scam. Maybe they found in the SoCal Restaurant Design Group some sympathetic ears to assure them their genius idea—expanded food service at the theater!—was totally unique.
We at CA are eager to see what’s in store. We look forward to the PR charm offensive, and stories about how the Cinefamily debacle was all Hadrian’s fault—never mind the Harkhams on the Board. That Cinefamily had only a management problem—despite the Board abdicating its oversight responsibilities. That all of the new theater’s equipment only looks like illegally appropriated Cinefamily property. That this is somehow something other than the sketchiest possible rebrand. We’ll probably get high-minded language about “codes of conduct” and “zero tolerance” and “female leadership.”
In other words, we’ll get more Harkham lies. Pass the popcorn.
We have, of course, reached out to the Harkhams, Erin Hensley, Kate Rouhandeh, and a number of Harkham partners (including Brilliant Consulting and the SoCal Restaurant Design Group). We will update this post with any comments.
*In the sign’s first 24 hours, social media has identified the resemblance: