For more than 30 years the Screening Room brought the Tucson community together through independent film festivals and events – the Arizona International Film Festival, Arizona Underground Film Festival, Terrorfest and Keep Tucson Sketchy comedy show to name a few. Now suffering from the pandemic like many others, the downtown theater is facing the struggle to survive.
The Screening Room’s current operator David Pike recently created a GoFundMe page to “Save The Screening Room,” reaching out for the community’s support.
“It’s paying the bills. It’s paying on loans, electricity, water and the rent that is due,” Pike said.
Since they closed in March, the Screening Room has hosted several online screenings. However, Pike said these did not generate the money needed to sustain the theater.
“When we have a movie in the theater, usually people will come in, get beer, get popcorn - the whole thing. That is what pays the bills,” Pike said.
While Arizona Gov. Doug Doucey’s 30 day order to close down bars, gyms and movie theaters came to an end on July 27, Pike says there’s no timeline when people will feel safe to reopen. Pike remarks he would love to reopen sooner than later, but knows that he will need to invest in safety measures first.
So far the GoFundMe has raised over $5,000. The goal is to reach $10,000.
“By reaching this amount it will ensure us that we can actually pay the bills pretty much for the rest of the year or longer,” Pike said. “Then we can actually hopefully safely open when it’s time to safely open.”
Pike is looking to hopefully reopen with small screening rentals in the future and will still do some online screenings to keep The Screening Room alive in the community.
“From my second year running last year, it was taking off. Now the virus, I really don’t want to lose the momentum,” he said. “I really want people to still think about us and when the virus is essentially done or whatever so that we can continue.”
Over 30 years of people coming in to premiere their films and to rent the space, Pike says the Screening Room has always been for the community.
“It’s Tucson’s theater, that’s how I see it,” Pike said. “The theater is the community’s and that’s what I like about it.”
For more information, visit gofundme.com/f/save-the-screening-room