Fresno Filmworks Statement on Tower Theatre Sale

Dear supporters:

On behalf of the Fresno Filmworks board of directors, we write with a statement regarding the impending sale of the historic Tower Theatre.

Filmworks has proudly presented independent and international movie screenings at the Tower Theatre as a monthly tenant for 18 years — from June 2002 to March 2020. That includes our annual Fresno Film Festival, which has called the theatre home since its 2005 debut. We temporarily suspended all our on-ground screenings in April, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It is hard for us — and for many in the community — to imagine the Tower Theatre as anything but a space for the performing arts. We are reminded of the history of now-closed cinemas throughout the city; particularly the bygone movie houses of downtown, which in their heyday were once crown jewels of the cinema. Some spaces have enjoyed renewed life outside of the arts, while others have disappeared completely.

We empathize with Tower Theatre ownership; the economic strain on their business has been dramatic. As an organization, we also face uncertainties. The landscape of movie exhibition continues to change daily, and the changes in how we all watch movies have only accelerated in the era of Covid-19.

We’d like to let our members and sponsors know that Filmworks still plans on presenting this spring’s Oscar-Nominated Short Films as a virtual screening via our website. Details are coming soon. And we hope to remain your local source of independent cinema in the future, no matter the venue.

Rita Bell, President
Benjamin Woodcock, Vice President
Fresno Filmworks board of directors