Interview with Greenfield Garden Cinemas Owners: Angela and Isaac Mass-Voices USABrazil Talk Show

Apr 28, 2021 01:35 · 4040 words · 19 minute read

So how how that started? Like how you guys talk about this for the first time? So like oh So maybe Isaac came home okay… I think I’m going to do something crazy. I want to share with you… I don’t know… It was definitely Isaac’s idea uh We spoke a lot about it on our early morning walks together, but you can you can speak to that.

00:48 - So you know I sort of grew up in the film industry I worked as an assistant manager at the greenfield cinema which was owned by Hoyts which is now Regal that used to be where the big why is now but has it was closed in the early 2000s but in the late 90s I was an assistant manager over there and then when I was working through law school i came and worked for George build at the guardian as a projectionist because when i was at Hoyts I knew the job of a projectionist is a pretty good job if you know what you’re doing if you get everything set up correctly with that 35 millimeter film you get the reels going once the movie starts if you’ve done it all right you don’t have anything to do you’re just there to make sure there’s no mistake so I would set everything up and I would read the law all all evening long for two hours every night i would be studying uh my law books and while i was doing that i reminded myself of how much i loved the industry and so we knew one day george and bill would want to retire and we always said to them hey when that time comes let us know and the industry has just changed so much since then um they went through a digital conversion those old 35 millimeter films they don’t exist anymore right we still have some of the old machines around but everything is digital now it’s all computerized and so that was a very expensive proposition for the theater to go through and they’ve faced a lot of challenges in the industry and so that put george and bill in a place where they were ready to make a change and they finally reached out to me and said isaac aren’t you serious and so i said yes of course we are uh we weren’t expecting it when it happened but when it did we didn’t want this theater to go away from greenfield we knew how vulnerable it was um i had been on the city council back in the 90s when the town took it for back taxes and had to put a new boiler system in and stabilize the building before bill and george actually took over the theater um about 17 years ago and a lot of these movie theaters all over the valley including in greenfield have just fallen apart or closed or been demolished or been converted into performance arts venues or non-profits where you can only see something once in a while and so we want to save this theater for greenfield especially since it was the last theater in greenfield the the greenfield garden cinema was gone the victoria was gone the waller was gone i mean this used to be a big movie town and um now it is the last first run movie theater in all of franklin county and we want to make sure it stays and then you said yes angela a little bit of convincing because this is a i think i mentioned to you yesterday this is not our only job well this is a full-time job um isaac is a lawyer in town and i teach at greenfield high school so um we already had full-time jobs and continue to have full-time jobs and so this is um it is at the moment it feels a little bit more like community service and that is a big part of who we are as well um so it is it is ultimately a business but i feel like right now we’re just putting our heart into maintaining and getting it back up again um and then down the road it will be a source of income for us but right now it is more like service thank you thank you so much you’re going to open the the garden cinemas on july 10th how you feel about that so we’re doing the things that are standard in any industry whether you’re in the grocery store or in a restaurant that you have to stand six feet apart we’ve put down the plastic partitioning but when you get actually into the theater itself we’re gonna mark off every other row to help spread out um in our current phase three stage one which is what we’re opening with on july 10th we’re only allowed to have 25 people in a theater at a time so that’s certainly going to allow for them to spread out as much as they need to because that’s that’s plenty of room in each of the theaters that we have um we’re also encouraging people to purchase their tickets ahead of time online so they have contactless that ticketing Angela can you say the website address for the… gardencinemas. net okay, If you go on now to gardencinemas. net you’re going to see a very special message from Tim Busfield and Melissa Gilbert Tim Busfield is the director Melissa Gilbert is the um producer of the new Jeff Daniels movie guest artist and they recorded a special message just for the Garden which you can hear on our website so it’s fun even if you’re not coming to the movies you can go to the website and listen to that message and you can stream another movie if you don’t feel comfortable coming out at home… excellent oh wow that’s a good that’s awesome! The Garden Cinemas is or are seven cinema it’s not just one cinema? Well it’s unique it’s one of the only theaters that’s like this in the country because it was a single movie palace is what they called it in 1929 when they built they actually built it in 28 it opened in 29 right before the great depression it was one of two which had a colonial garden theme same architect this and one in athol that has been destroyed and um in the late 80s the wife of the grandchildren of the original owners uh saw sort of the writing coming on the wall as multiplexes were coming in in the late 70s and they were going into plazas all over the country they saw that the economics of keeping a movie theater open as a single a single screen just didn’t exist anymore it would fail and so they took a chance on the garden and they did what many people think is sort of sacrilege they chopped up this beautiful old movie theater into seven screens um but they saved it if they hadn’t done it it was already in a lot of disrepair before that people you know a lot of people um who grew up in Greenfield they’ve been to the garden when it was a single theater they saw either 101 Dalmatians or return of the Jedi there and they they remember what it used to be like and the carpets were tattered and the murals were stained but they by chopping it up into seven movies now you could bring in a selection and they could compete with the greenfield cinema which came in shortly after that at the and the mall which had 17 screens they could still keep a movie theater here because you can’t just make it on one screen wow and Isaac requirement for the state for opening and so it’s how is it is it 25 people for each uh room so the rule is 40 capacity but no more than 25 per enclosed space so each screen okay 25 people now in our smallest um room that’s puts us at about 30 capacity but overall with all um seven theaters that puts us in about 17 capacity so people should be free to spread out and have lots of room and and uh so and also uh everybody needs to wear masks we require everyone to wear a mask into the theater they can wear it into the theater until they sit down once they’re seated um well no one would know whether you had a mask on or not once the lights go out but we ask people at least to wear until they they’re seated and when they get up if they go to the restroom anything like that what else you are doing are you guys doing with the garden as we’re trying to start to bring some movies in right now there’s not a lot of new content so it allowed us to kind of pick movies that we thought people might want to see on the big screen so we have a nice variety of some real real throwback old movies like casablanca mr smith goes to washington the original muppet movie um and we also mentioned that you could still stream at home because we know that there’s a lot of people who might not feel comfortable to come out to the theater yet and that’s totally fine and we respect that and this is just another way for them to watch some something new while still supporting us the way the website works is um if you go to gardencinemas.

net and on the top of the web the page you’re going to see um the movies that are showing in the theater right now there’s also a button at the top that says streaming now streaming and you can click that and it will take you down or you can just scroll down to the bottom of the page and you’ll see about 15 titles it changes each week what we have um a lot of them they’re all either art films or a lot of foreign language films which we wouldn’t normally be able to even bring into the theater and so they come from various studios and so depending what we are as a landing page for those movies so if you come to the garden you can click on house of hummingbird from korea or um coming up at the end of the july the tobacconist which is a german film or uh the military wives which is a british film you can click on those films and it will take you to another page where you can put in where you can rent the film and put in your pay by credit card and then you’ll have the movie for somewhere between 48 and 72 hours it depends on the studio the prices range from as low as 3.

99 to as much as 12 of course you know before you purchase it and half of that ticket price comes back to the garden cinema so if you happen to see one of those and you see it through our web page we get half of the proceeds from that and there are great movies that you can’t see anywhere else no i know exactly and i want to ask you about uh background there’s only a list there’s only in studios that we’ve partnered with that do it so you can’t you know look up and say say i want to see irresistible you have to come into the theater if you want to see irresistible or if you want to see an older title like uh die hard you can’t do that you might be able to see it on tv but newer films that are art or foreign so if she wants to see back around which a million people in brazil saw back around great film um beautifully directed and um we have wonderful partners with kinder lord who really um helped us with baccarat and other titles and um so that film is available you can go down to our streaming content and you’ll see the poster for baccarat which is a easily identifiable and click on that and then when you rent the film you from the next landing page you will have access to that and there’s a lot of ways that you can watch it you can either watch it on your computer or your phone or if you’re really technologically savvy we have a lot of um customers who will hook their computer or their phone up to their television and then they can watch it on their television uh so there’s a lot of different ways some of the studios are a little better than others some of them have um apple devices that’ll allow you to connect through your smart tv but it’s a little all over the place because these studios had to get everything together really quickly to do this new thing that they had never done before by partnering with movie theaters but it’s great for them because we have a whole audience of people who would not have necessarily picked baccarat if they saw it on a list of movies on netflix or on video on demand but because they know the garden and want to help the garden they look and there’s a limited number for them to choose from this they say maybe i’ll try this foreign film which is wonderful because there’s so many great foreign films out there that people just never get a chance to see and last year the academy award for best picture was parasite which is a korean film that foreign language film first time ever that a foreign language film um won best picture but i think you’ll see more of that in the future we try to bring in our films and we’ll continue to do that i think we had we had planned the week after we closed to be bringing in portrait of a lady on fire beautiful french-made film um but we closed before that could happen so you’ll see more of that as we reopen and films get back on track um but for right now it’s a bonanza of foreign films on uh the streaming what else you would like to say about know about the the garden i’ll tell you we spent we spent over 3 000 to purchase that piece of equipment and i want to give a big shout out to cameron ward and camelot cleaners they are the ones who partnered with us and told us no they they cleaned all of our cockpits to begin with and saved them we didn’t even think they were salvaged can you say that name again please camelot cleaners and it’s cameron ward who does it and if you ever need anything done at home or industrial he is really good at what they do not only did they come through our carpets which were so bad we thought they were going to have to be completely replaced and we still need to do some work on them but they saved those um they made a recommendation to us about the seats about how to do it they said buy your own equipment this is the equipment to buy they came in they trained our employees on how to use it and we are recouping all of those deeds and it comes from you know people sit down in the theater and they got butter on their hands from eating the popcorn and they wipe it on the sea and uh they spill soda and it just gets into the fabric and if you don’t take care of it it stains um they were always clean seeds they were always clean but they the stains were there we’re getting all those stains out when most of the stains out and so we’re going to salvage those seats and our employees are doing a tremendous job they’re in here every day cleaning seats so we’re getting that all performed and we’re really proud of the work that they’re doing um we’re doing other things to improve the physical characteristics of the theater another one of our partners is hail custom signs they were one of the first people that we contacted because we wanted the marquee lit up again with the neon and the neon is was they got that done right away yesterday they took all the neon out because we’re repainting the murky the old that it hasn’t been painted in over 20 years and we will be repainting the marquee so all the water stains will go away and the neon will be put back in place there they took it down safely so that it could be put back up and it’ll be re-lit but it will be fully painted again as well so we like to say baby bites a little bit at a time constantly trying to make small improvements to make the experience better that’s go ahead is that we um i think over the last 20 years have proven that we are committed to greenfield and to our community and our purchase of the theater means that we are just that more invested in the success of our community and we’re here to stay so you know if people are still a little nervous to come out right now we’re going to be here 5 10 15 years from now people love the movies there’s no replacing the feeling of going with a group of people or sitting with people you’ve never met before and having that shared experience of seeing a movie together whether it’s a comedy or something that pulls out your heartstrings i’ll never forget watching black hawk down and like leaving that theater and everyone was crying and that was a shared experience that i will have forever an angel what’s really interesting about that is i had a whole another experience watching black hawk down because when i saw black hawk down it was in in bosnia at um that eagle base and i was sitting two rows behind who lieutenant the the um the the captain from that movie who was then a lieutenant colonel um watching the movie himself you know and it was with the 10th famine at that time and so we love movies i don’t we don’t care if it’s a tent in the middle of in in tuesday or when angela and i go on vacation we always make it a point to go to a movie theater when we went on our honeymoon and carousel we went to the movie theater down there when we went to greece we went to the outdoor theater there and we learned so much about the industry everywhere we go when people do things slightly different and it is it’s a totally unique experience when you’re sitting there with other people and they’re seeing something for the first time that you’re saying you know we saw um or i saw the full monty in at the academy of music in northampton and people laughed so hard you couldn’t even hear the movie um you walk out of schindler’s list and everyone has just a different perspective on the world after seeing a movie like that and so you can’t do that at in your slippers watching netflix no no no you can’t no and and but you are you also doing uh uh uh parties like how people can contact you for for a body the easiest way to contact us to set up either a private showing or a birthday party is by emailing us at gardencinemas.

net um you can connect through there and email us at the email address is greenfieldgarden7 that’s the numeral 7 at gmail. com but you can call us you can call us at the theater especially after the 10th will be someone will be here every day and that is 413-773 or you can come into the theater and just talk to us and we can get you on the schedule um we do private parties either early in the morning so like nine o’clock in the morning before we start matinees or we can even do a midnight showing so especially you could have 25 people and do a party but if you’re an express especially vulnerable person and you want to come out so you want to see guest artists which you can’t stream online or see on cable but you’re a big jeff daniels fan and you want to see it but you you just don’t trust the crowd we will make sure that the theater is completely clean for you ahead of time disinfected you can come in privately when it’s closed to everyone else and we will do a special screening of that movie and if there’s a movie that we don’t have but you want to see it and you happen to have the dvd of it we can project your dvd onto the big screen as well which is a tremendous experience okay so you’re working on that and but you don’t know yet when you’re going to be able to get that right well we it’s actually been approved by the state um we are waiting for um we’ve got a couple of eyes to dot with the building inspector but we’re taking care of that this week and we expect that by the end of summer we will be doing service we still got to go out and purchase the equipment the coolers and stuff but we were waiting for the licensing to all come through and we’re sort of waiting for the guidelines related to kobe 19 to open up a little more before we put that big investment in i cannot uh thank you guys enough for uh for doing this really and also i know uh isaac that you support greenfield community college and i’m a student i’ve been greatly coming college student and i love that college so much so and that shows a lot about you and i’m very thankful to you guys and i don’t know why i’m i’m happy i don’t know about you guys thank you for reaching out thank you your wonderful interviewer and we really appreciate that now good luck at gcc we know um that um that is a wonderful place to learn and grow and we love greenfield uh and just one last thing to let your viewers know because they’re going to see this on july 10th we did a special um order right before uh just while we were planning to reopen and the first 500 people who come back to the theater so plenty of time lots of people will be able to get it we’ve purchased special custom-made posters for them that say everything i needed to know i learned at the garden and it has a list of 37 of the best movie quotes about life lessons all the all the things that you that people need to learn um most of them have been taught at the movies if you come enough whoa okay so the 500 first 500 people will get that free gift and and also another thing i think is good i i know i want to buy mine is the the the garden cinnamon sure right those are still on sale on our website they are the there’s two two styles there’s intermission 2020 which intermission is over on on the 10th but you can still get that sure and there is the garden lobster which has a picture of a heart with a lot of the movie um symbols that are on there and it’s got the garden logo on it too thank you so much you.