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Blue Ice Film and Hot Docs Partner to Acquire Revamped Bloor Cinema

Photo of Nigel M Smith By Nigel M Smith | Indiewire July 5, 2011 at 5:42AM

Hot Docs, North America's largest documentary festival have teamed up with Blue Ice Film to lease the landmark Bloor Cinema in downtown Toronto, the festival's mainstay venue for 12 years. The theater is currently undergoing renovation. It will reopen this fall under this new revitalized management, with Hot Docs programming the century-hold film house year-round.
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Hot Docs, North America's largest documentary festival have teamed up with Blue Ice Film to lease the landmark Bloor Cinema in downtown Toronto, the festival's mainstay venue for 12 years. The theater is currently undergoing renovation. It will reopen this fall under this new revitalized management, with Hot Docs programming the century-hold film house year-round.

What this all means? Documentaries will be predominantly featured. But the revamped Bloor Cinema will also continue to host film festivals (including the Toronto Jewish Film Festival, the After Dark Film Festival and the Images Festival) and offer other programming.

Full release below:

BLUE ICE FILM AND HOT DOCS ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP TO REVITALIZE NEWLY ACQUIRED BLOOR CINEMA

BELOVED TORONTO LANDMARK SET TO REOPEN THIS FALL

For Immediate Release

Toronto, July 5, 2011 – Blue Ice Film and Hot Docs are delighted to announce that they have entered into a partnership to operate the recently acquired Bloor Cinema, the landmark, century-old film house located in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood. Currently undergoing renovation, the Bloor Cinema will reopen this fall under Hot Docs’ management, revitalized and ready to welcome Toronto’s film-loving public.

“Independent cinemas like the Bloor are vital to the city’s vibrant film culture,” says Chris McDonald, Hot Docs executive director. “Blue Ice Film and Hot Docs want to see them thrive.”

“It’s a dream come true,” says Carm Bordonaro, the now former owner of the Bloor Cinema. “The business model has completely changed and we need visionary investors and organizations like Hot Docs to protect these neighbourhood cinemas. I want to thank the community and our avid supporters who have kept the Bloor alive all these years.”

Bordonaro has been involved with the Bloor Cinema’s operations since 1979, when it was part of the Festival Cinemas chain. He had been managing the venue with his family since 1999, and they purchased it in June of 2010 in an effort to ensure its survival as a cinema. Since then, the family has held off selling the venue, turning away numerous property developers until a like-minded buyer could be secured.

Under a joint venture agreement, Hot Docs as lease holder will assume responsibility for managing and programming the Bloor Cinema year round, in addition to utilizing the venue for its annual Festival and monthly Doc Soup screening series. Documentary films will be predominantly featured, but the Bloor Cinema will continue to host many of Toronto’s popular film festivals and also offer programming of interest to the rep cinema’s loyal following. In addition to Hot Docs, the Bloor regularly hosts the Toronto Jewish Film Festival, the After Dark Film Festival and the Images Festival, among many others.

“It’s a remarkable opportunity, and we are ready for the challenge,” says McDonald. “The Bloor Cinema has been a cherished home to Hot Docs for the past 12 years and we’re excited to be a part of the revitalization of this much-loved venue. It’s fantastic for Hot Docs, film lovers and the entire neighbourhood, which will continue to enjoy its own independent film house. This new chapter wouldn’t have been possible without the unwavering dedication of Carm, Paul and their family, and the vision of Blue Ice.”

The current renovations will see upgrades to the cinema’s technical equipment and sound system, audience seating, façade and lobby areas. During this time, Hot Docs will be conducting industry stakeholder and community consultations around proposed plans for the cinema. The email address feedback@hotdocs.ca has been set up so that interested parties can begin sharing their feedback.