Cinefamily’s temporary closure is now permanent. Following the August resignations of executive director Hadrian Belove and board member Shadie Elnashai amid sexual harassment allegations, the nonprofit West Hollywood theater will not reopen, concluding a 10-year run.
A statement posted November 14 on its website states that the decision was the result of a months-long independent investigation. “While no victims emerged to corroborate the allegation of rape widely circulated in an anonymous email, the investigation identified serious concerns, including breaches of acceptable behavior alleged to have happened at Cinefamily offices and events; a climate that discouraged employees and volunteers from reporting distressing workplace incidents and/or made them feel unheard if they did so; and critical lapses in communication from the executive management and the board,” the statement reads. “We feel strongly that we have made the right decision.”
The statement also references Cinefamily’s “crippling debt,” which combined with the reputation-destroying allegations to form the “irreparable” final blow. A transition team will help the organization tie up all loose legal and monetary matters as it departs Fairfax Avenue’s Silent Movie Theatre, which the landlord will renovate.
Until recently, the Board of Directors included Ted Hope, head of production at Amazon Original Movies; “The Lego Movie” co-writer and co-director Phil Lord; and “21 Jump Street” scribe Michael Bacall. Oscar-winning actress Brie Larson, who co-founded Women of Cinefamily, exited the more-symbolic advisory board August 23.
When it was established in 1942, the Silent Movie Theatre was a perplexing addition to the Hollywood independent theater scene since it arrived 15 years after films began featuring sound. Nonetheless, it became one of the city’s best-attended arthouse venues.
At least one recurring block of Cinefamily programming will return elsewhere: La Collectioneuse, a monthly “cinematic saloon” for Francophiles, will bring a dance party and Philippe Puicouyoul’s 1981 feature “The Brunette and I” to Zebulon next Wednesday, November 22.
Read the full statement from Cinefamily below.