Chatham Film Club Reviews Key Changes in 2014 and Looks to the New Year

At its last Board of Directors meeting of the year, the Chatham Film Club reviewed highlights from 2014 and began the strategic planning process for 2015. The past year saw key changes and improvements at the Crandell Theatre, with more planned for the future. The year began with the election of Fred Ulrich as Board President; Susan Van Tassel joined the Board in March.

Over the course of 2014, the film club completed all major exterior work on the building with three necessary projects: upgrading to a new electrical line, installing a new drainage system, and replacing the siding on the back of the building to ensure the preservation of the theatre’s structure. In the interior, a new hearing and vision assistance system was installed to address the needs of patrons.

The Chatham Film Club partnered with other community organizations to present special programs such as the sixth Farm Film Festival co-sponsored by the Columbia Land Conservancy and the Chatham Agricultural Partnership with films on farms and farming.

In a new initiative, the After School Filmmaking Project gave Middle School students in Chatham, New Lebanon, and Hudson the opportunity to make original short films and screen them at the Crandell. This program was sponsored by the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, the Columbia Arts and Humanities Project, and the Ellsworth Kelly Foundation.

For the first time, the FilmColumbia Festival, produced by The Chatham Film Club, expanded into the City of Hudson, making it a truly county-wide event. The festival showed over 40 screenings to 7,000 patrons.

With cohost WMHT, the year closes out with a free screening of Masterpiece Downton Abbey Season 5 premiere on December 27 at 4 p.m.

“By the end of the year, we achieved a record level of support with 950 active members,” says Fred Ulrich, President of the Chatham Film Club. “Most importantly, we continued to show a diverse mix of first and second run films every evening and a series of art house, foreign, and documentary films every other Sunday. We are able to do this and make needed building improvements only with the support of the community and the generosity of donors.”

Looking forward to 2015, the film club plans a major interior renovation project to replace the ceiling and the heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system in the theatre. Estimated cost is $250,000 to complete. Says Ulrich, “These changes will make movie-going at the Crandell even more enjoyable, and we ask for the community’s continuing support to make them possible. Donations can be made at http://www.crandelltheatre.org/donate.”

The Chatham Film Club, a 501(c)(3) member-supported nonprofit organization, owns and operates the historic Crandell Theatre on Chatham’s Main Street and produces the popular FilmColumbia Festival each October. For information on the Chatham Film Club, or to see what’s showing, visit www.crandelltheatre.org.