An Inconvenient Truth. Man on Wire. Woodstock. Bowling for Columbine. Sound Familiar? They should. These are the titles of some of the best documentaries of all time. Some were lucky enough to gain enough hype to be shown in theaters, but many documentaries never have that opportunity.
While there are a fair few independent film houses in New York City already, there are none dedicated solely to documentaries. Not for long, though—the 87 Lafayette Street firehouse will be the site for a brand-new, 3.500-square-food, 73-seat theater. The theater will have state-of-the-art equipment and will take about a year to complete once construction begins in March.
James Gandolfini will be the honorary chairman for the pending announcement. The nonprofit organization, “Downtown Community Television Center” (DCTV) is heading up the $3.2 million project in Chinatown so that first-fun documentaries can be shown year round. It will also provide a place for filmmakers to meet with their audiences.
DCTV plans to pay for the project using funding from both private and public donors throughout New York City. Some of the donors include the Office of the Mayor and the Rockefeller Foundation.
The project satisfies a need that has not yet been filled by any other public theater—independent or not—in NYC. Having a specifically documentary-only theater will allow documentaries to gain more visibility and have a permanent venue in which to be shown and shared. Construction should be finished around March 2014, when the doors will finally be open.