RIO SUPPORTERS are rallying with donations since the cinema revealed that its funds are “depleted”.
Patrick Lyons, who chairs the Rio board, told Loving Dalston that the Rio’s members had been “extremely generous”, making donations of between £1 and £500.
Lyons last month emailed member, known as Friends, to say that £50,000 was needed, otherwise the cinema might be unable to continue with its film programme.
Any amount, “large or small” could help to keep Hackney’s oldest independent cinema trading.
He said this week: “We have received grants from government and non-governmental institutions, the availability of which has been reduced. The Olympics sucked up a significant amount of potential funding available on a global basis and in the borough.”
As for the café in the foyer, he said: “The board views the concession [café] as a vital part of the future development of the Rio and is undertaking a number of initiatives with partners to explain the offerings to the community.”
“It [the café] has had a considerably positive impact on the financial position of the Rio.”
Lyons said the Hackney Picturehouse had “had no impact on Rio membership”. Whether it had affected admission numbers was difficult to determine.
Asked what the strategy was for making up the deficit, he said: “The important thing about the Rio is that it has a two-track mission.
“The first is the showing of films on Friday and Saturday nights that tend to be different from popcorn fare.” In no way was he demeaning mainstream movies.
He continued: “And the equally important part of our mission is the community aspect, which is funded out of the box office on Friday and Saturday nights.”
As for the prospect of cuts, he said: “At the moment the programme ends in October. In the middle of a programme is not the time to cut.” The board and management were seeking to preserve the community ethos.
Lyons declined to comment on whether Hackney council had been approached for financial aid.
The council owns the leasehold (not the freehold) and sub-lets the listed art deco building to the Rio on a long-term lease.
David Altheer 021013
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