An open letter of thanks and a wind-up of 2017 from April Gornik, Cinema Chair:
HUGE THANKS to the Village of Sag Harbor, our most honorable Mayor Sandra Schroeder and the Village Board of Trustees, the Village Boards for patiently listening to and vetting our plans, and speaking of patient, Tom Preiato, our building inspector who has fielded so many questions and concerns.
Deep gratitude to NY AssemblymanFred Thiele and his amazing staff, who helped us immeasurably with advice and encouragement and support.
And after the fire last year we had boots on the ground help, big time, from Chris Denon of Twin Forks Moving and Storage who removed and saved the sign and from John Battle and Clayton Orehek who’ve been restoring it out of the goodness of their own hearts. And thanks to all the people who contributed to our Virtual Memory Wall about the Cinema!
I want to especially acknowledge the sky-high level of talent and ability on all of our committees. No wonder we succeeded!
Our whole Partnership board: what a bunch of powerhouse workhorses. Nick Gazzolo, as President, guided us with tenacity and clear-headedness. Not to mention that he had JUST finished helping the library get built, as head of their board, when we began this crazy project. He, I and Susan Mead are, I believe, tied for sleeplessness! Susan has stepped up for the Village since 2007 and she has been working so hard on everything it’s just staggering. Susan Lacy has been on our side big time ever since she joined the Partnership, and is the Great Diplomat, besides juggling her rather full time job! As are Jayne Young (inventor of the American Values series, I might add), Hilary Loomis, who has been such a great fundraiser and knows everyone, Carol Ostrow with her not-for-profit experience, generosity and advice, Judi Caron, also a great fundraiser and true worker, Diana Howard our grant princess who’s there even from faraway Texas, Phyllis Hollis (who knows business inside & out and is volunteering with us while getting a degree in social media!), and our latest new board member Emma Walton Hamilton, a beacon of sense who knows the community inside and out, stepping up while authoring books and raising kids.
Then there’s Allen Kopelson. He and Randy Croxton have been amazing architectural partners, but I have to single Allen out for managing meetings with surveyors, mold remediation people, lawyers, etc and even attending Village Board Meetings. And he’s been involved in this just as long as any of us, since 2007! A toast to Allen and his lovely and generous wife Robin. And we’re all excited to see what Randy comes up with for the interior! His great work on the wall which graced the Cinema lot all summer and fall and was erected thanks to Men at Work and Aidan Corish, with gracious help from the people at Compass Realty and Jim McGinniss, was studied by local people and visitors all summer and fall and made a huge difference. Michael Hemmer helped us with survey work and is always patient, always there as well as Vinnie Guardiello from Raynor Group who has been most generous to this effort. And thanks to Elizabeth Dow for volunteering fabric to recover every seat in the theater!
Lawyer Chris Kelley stepped up out of the blue to offer help. Who does that? a busy lawyer with a lot on his plate and yet he’s found time to guide and help us. Unbelievable. And Jason Casella generously keeps us on the NFP straight-and-narrow with keen insight.
A huge shout-out to our hugely important PR people. Shawn Sachs, miracle worker. Tiffany Malloy, Mitchell Schwenz, Kari Dahl, Sarah Novatt, and everybody at Sunshine Sachs. I still can’t believe how tirelessly they have worked for us. Could we be more fortunate? and huge thanks to AB members Gina & Eric Hadley, who introduced us to Shawn and are salt-of-the earth great people as well as total powerhouses themselves. And Shadow PR, introduced to us by Cinema board member Mike Namer, including Brad Zeifman and Milly Jones as well as Eitan Kling-Levine. We owe you so much! Thank you all endlessly!
We would be dead in the water without the finance people on this project, first Elliott Meisel, the GREAT Elliott Meisel, who brokered our contract with Cinema owner Gerry Mallow (whom we thank again for maintaining the Cinema as a true art house for 38 years) and his lawyers, as well as Ron Kaplan, who not only helped last year with the contract but also engaged John Alschuler for our amazing HR&A economic impact study, so essential to our vision and the our grant being awarded; and thanks to Governor Cuomo, Bridget Fleming, again Fred Thiele, Theresa Ward, and Diana Cherryholmes, for their advice about the grant. Hats off to Gregg Winter, who appeared totally out of the blue, saying he couldn’t look at where the Cinema had been after the fire, who seemed initially like just another emotional Sag Harbor fan until he introduced us to Elliott Meisel and then introduced us to Frank Sorrentino and Connect One, the source of the loan we’ll be taking for a leg up on our project. Talk about MVPs! And for hard-headed advice and clarity, we’ve been blessed with Mike Namer, who with his wife Christine are two of the most devoted and generous people in our community. Then there is our dear friend and Village Trustee Robby Stein, who knows how to juggle village know-how with grace with truly extraordinary people, money and board skills. Susan Mead is on our finance committee as well, along with Andrew Fierberg, who with Giulia D’Agnolo Vallan crafted the original and also indispensable first version of our plan for the Cinema, and also, along with Robby and Nick, was on the ad hoc committee we formed in 2009 to first try to save the Cinema. His working knowledge of the Film Forum and Jacob Burns Center have been so critical to this endeavor!
Other members of our Cinema Board who have been a huge help are Steve Hamilton, who’s helping spearhead the American Values Film Series, Ed Hollander, recipient of our Partnership Service Award for 2017, and Minerva Perez, head of OLA and the Latino Film Festival, with whom we look forward to working more in the future.
Which brings me our huge Advisory board! Susan Lacy, its head and creator of the PBS American Masters Series, now at HBO, has added fantastic people to our group.Aforementioned Giulia D’Agnolo Vallan is a total film powerhouse, brilliantly guiding our new programming committee while doing her job as programmer for the Venice Film Festival, being a film historian, and being a great moderator of post-film discussion. We’re so lucky to have professional film people as part of our AB, including major screenwriter Bill Collage, who is so amazingly connected, Carter Burwell, epically talented film scorer, Alexandra Dean & Adam Haggiag, who gave us our first wonderful event hosted by their most generous parents Katharine Holabird Haggiag and Michael Haggiag, which was the screening of BOMBSHELL done with wonderful Anne Chaisson and HIFF, and congrats again to Anne on HIFF's amazing 25th anniversary year. Chris Hegedus & D.A. Pennebaker, truly legendary in the greater world of documentary filmmaking, Wendy Keys, the loveliest, most clear-headed and connected person ever and such a great humanitarian as well, Joe Lauro, film historian and host of our terrific LTV series, with thanks to Morgan Vaughn, head of LTV. Rob Marshall and John DeLuca (well THAT speaks for itself! We’re dying for the Chicago screening on February 11th!), Jacqui Lofaro, who did such a fantastic and successful 10th anniversary of the Hamptons Take 2 Film Festival, Barbara Moss, film historian, feminist, networker and tireless fundraiser, Leslie Shatz and Lauren Ritchie, who appeared like angels out of the blue and who will be fundamental in developing our educational possibilities as true technical professionals, Harris Yulin, the great, great actor who comes up with equally great ideas constantly for fundraising and moving us forward. And Ricki Roer, the brilliant lawyer who sees through everything and has been such a generous supporter, Leila Straus, also a most generous and a wonderful ambassador for this project, Ned Rifkin, film historian and NFP expert we’re so lucky to have, Darren Starr, our generous and newest AB member, Katie Lee, author, chef, and food critic who was critically important in asking the Piano Man to join the band!, Andrea Grover of Guild Hall, the great inventive curator and now head of Guild Hall who has the best ideas and energy, Tara Fordham of the Bridgehampton National Bank, another deep connection to the Sag Harbor community, Myrna Davis who with her husband Paul have been so supportive and smart and full of great ideas, John Chris Connor, who knows everybody and whom we’re glad to have working with us and into the future, Shaun Woodward who just happened to help broker peace between Ireland and England is a very generous supporter, Bob Weinstein who designed our SHCAC logo and continues to help with graphics, hosting and support, Adam Schwartz and Barrie Glabman, fantastic Sag Harbor community visionaries and supporters, Jesse Matsuoka (and his wife Jessica) who hosted one of our first and funnest benefits, Sushi, Sake & Silent Auction at Sen, and Samantha Yanks, who has been so generous with publicity and really knows how to show up!
Our Youth Advisory Board, which includes Sam Hamilton, its able chair, as well as Julian Alvarez, Oliver Brown, Victoria Dudek-Tipton, Noah Engel, Juliet Garrett, who recently hosted a great party in her Brooklyn loft for the Cinema, Theo Gray, Will Greenberg, Brenna Leaver, Devon Leaver, and Nick Whelan.
We also thank the wonderful people who’ve helped us host events, like Taylor Rose Berry from Harbor Books who hosted the first-ever benefit for the Cinema after the fire, the Sag Harbor Whaling Museum for hosting our Sag Harbor In Focus teen photo show, Ron Perelman and Anna Chapman who hosted a lovely cocktail party at their beautiful Bilboquet Restaurant, Devin Wenig and Lulu’s Restaurant for a terrific private event, Constance Dunham, Tracey Cavaniola and the Watchcase Condominiums for a beautiful cocktail party they gave us for their tenants, Donna Karan who hosted a splendid screening for us at her magnficient home, and the members of the AIA Peconic who threw a fantastic Casino Night party for us, including Michele Hugo, Patrick Brew, Kathleen Cooper, Kay Jones, andJoe Traina, Jacqui LaBorne, and Eric Peele of PAGE RESTAURANT which hosted Casino Night, as well as its sponsors Acousticsmart, AIA Peconic, Electronic Environments, Hamptons Gym Corp, I-Grace, Summerhill Landscapes, Paul Roger, and Jim & Veronica Baker. And The Wharf Shop threw a wonderful raffle for us that raised over $1,000!
Our minds were blown when we received Pierson High School’s Class of 2017 gift donation. What better gift could we have received? and as far as gifts go, we have the most generous art community here imaginable. Artist have stepped up from the first, and collectively are some of our biggest contributors. They include from our first auction Linda K Alpern, Casey Chalem Anderson, Alice Aycock, Monica Banks, Mary Ellen Bartley. Roisin Bateman, John Battle, Gretl Bauer, Walter Bernard, Ross Bleckner, Dianne Blell, Tulla Booth, Philippe Cheng, Ann Chwatsky, Michael Clinton, Lucille Colin, Carolyn Conrad, James Croak, Paul Davis, Miriam Dougenis, Keith Douglas, Jameson Ellis, Chris Engel, Pat Field. Eric Fischl, Francine Fleischer, Cornelia Foss, Dorothy Frankel, Herbert Friedman, Gail Gallagher, Hugh Gallagher, Margaret Garrett, Ralph Gibson, Mats Gustafson, Barbara Hadden, Mary Heilmann, Michael Heller, Nina Yankowitz & Barry Holden, Judy Hudson, Bryan Hunt, Ruby Jackson, Daniel Jones,Stephanie Joyce, Mel Kendrick, Tom Kochie, Laurie Lambrecht, Susan Lazarus-Reimen, Stephen Longmire, Edwina Lucas, Maryann Lucas, Christa Maiwald, Alex Mankiewicz , Rima Mardoyan, Jane Martin, Lynn Matsuoka, Christian McLean, Paton Miller, Steve Miller, Jonathan Morse, Mae Mougin, Jill Musnicki, Gerald Pryor, Hollis Rafkin-Sax, Dan Rizzie, Randall Rosenthal, Toni Ross, Reynold Ruffins, Hope Sandrow, Bastienne Schmidt, Maria Schon, Blair Seagram, Anne Seelbach, Cindy Sherman, Ned Smyth, Peter Solow (whom we also thank for helping with our wonderful Sag Harbor in Focus show for Pierson teens), Sabina Streeter, Billy Sullivan, Valerie Suter, Ian Swift, Pamela Topham, John Torreano, Hans Van de Bovenkamp, Dawn Watson, Max Webber, Bob Weinstein, Dan Welden, Amy Wickersham, John Wickersham, Lucy Winton, and Darius Yektai, and thank you so much to the galleries that hosted the work: Tulla Booth Gallery, Grenning Gallery, Julie Keyes Fine Art, Romany Kramoris Gallery, Sarah Nightingale, and Monika Olko. Artists from our second auction at Estia’s Little Kitchen were Kirsten Benfield, Arlene Bujese who supplied works of art, Mary Daunt, Eric Ernst, Cornelia Foss, Connie Fox, Jim Gingerich, Kimberly Goff, Janet Goleas, Michael Halsband, Whitney Hansen, Sue Heatley, Candace Hill, Jules Feiffer, Erica-Lynn Huberty, Nathan Slate Joseph, Bonnie Lautenberg, Ann Lombardo, Mary Jane Marcasiano, Lindsay Morris, Roy Nicholson, Michele Oka Doner, Daniel Pollera, Eleni Prieston, Gabriele Raacke, Isabella Rupp, Mary Stadnick, Barbara Thomas, Valter Us, and Almond Zigmund. At our first even on the Wharf, we were generously sponsored by Baron’s Cove, the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation, Bridgehampton National Bank, Brown Harris Stevens Real Estate, the Lorber Family Foundation, Michael Graff & Carol Ostrow, Judi Caron, Susan Lacy, Susan Mead, Nicole Miller and Kim Taipale, Romy and Bogdan Cosmaciuc, Michael Daly, Susan Dusenberry, Fishers Home Furnishings, Nick Gazzolo & Renée Shafransky, Edmund Hollander, Bob & Hilary Loomis, Susan Penzner, Apple Bank, Jackie Brody, Joe Traina and Jayne Young. And where would we be without Cynthia Battaglia Distinctive Catering, and other in-kind sponsors like the Sag Harbor Florist, Geekhampton, JVS Studio, Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center, the HooDoo Loungers, and Kevin Martin and Christopher Tekverk & Carol Williams who donated old Lobby Cards for auction. And the recent generous sponsor of our American Values Film Series is Sotheby’s International Real Estate. Restaurants from all over the village supplied food for our Big Tent for the Cinema event, including Bagel Buoy, Baron’s Cove, Bay Burger, Beacon/Bell & Anchor, BuddhaBerry, Cavaniola’s Cheese Shop, Cilantro, Conca D’Oro, (whom we will miss!)Corner Bar, Cove Deli, Cromer’s Market, Dockside Bar & Grill, Golden Pear, Harbor Market, Il Capuccino, Jack’s Stir Brew Coffee, La Superica, Page, Provisions, Sag Harbor Baking Company, Schiavoni’s Market, andSen. Equally important were our 100 volunteers acting as servers, bartenders and face-painters, our friends the Sag Harbor Whalers baseball team who lent not only their brawn but their damn good looks, local beverage and wine merchants Sag Harbor Beverage,Bedell Cellars , Channing Daughters Winery, Clamrake Lager Beer, Sweet’tauk Lemonade. Tickle Water, VRAC Rosé, and Wolffer Estate Vineyard. The Sag Harbor Fire Department flipped their famous burgers, the Sag Harbor Police and the Harbor Master kept order, and we just couldn't mention them without mentioning the Volunteer Ambulance Corps!
The Sag Harbor Express, Gavin & Georgie & Bryan & Stephen & everybody not only wrote about our efforts but helped sponsor the absolutely fantastic Estia’s Little Kitchen Turnpike Block Party, partnered with Almond Restaurant (Eric Lemonides & Jason Weiner) and Estia's Colin Ambrose who so generously offered Estia’s for the party. We received great press help from the wonderful East Hampton Star, Dan’s Papers,Bonnie Grice, Lauren Stone & Anthony of WEHM, Guy Trebay of the NYTImes, Jon Winkler of 27East, Page6 of the NYPost, Nicole Barylski of Hamptons.com, Rachel Blidner of Newsday, Carrie Doyle of Hamptons Magazine,Lisa Finn of EHPatch, Jeff Heatley of AAQEast End, and others in the media who have given attention to our cause and been generous supporters as well. Special thanks to Michael Heller for his great photojournalism! Rich Ficara made a brilliant video with the help of Nick Gazzolo. Gail Gallagher, our genius social media maven, keeps us out there in the most inventive and fun way. And warmest thanks to Chuck Miller, Peter Loeven, and TSO General for their counsel, patience, and beautiful printing.
The Stephen Talkhouse’s benefit for the Cinema was a blast! Thanks to Peter Honerkamp, its manager, Joe Lauro for arranging the benefit, and great performances by Hopefully Forgiven, Gene Casey and the Lone Shark Trio, Alfredo Merat, Jim Turner, and Sarah Conway & the Playful Souls. There was a wonderful popup event in Sag Harbor from Sunswell which raised funds, a lovely rosé tasting at Topping Rose last summer, shopping for our cause at the Maison Ullens pop-up at Topping Rose, a percentage of sales given to us at a John Varvatos event, and more recently a sip and shop at J. McLaughlin in Southampton. Elizabeth Cassone of Windswept by the Sea Salon offered a portion of sales, and all the merchants who had our save the Cinema sign in their windows & donated have been great supporters. And Forever Bungalows: our heartfelt thanks to Bea Alda & Jennifer Brooke, who raised thousands of dollars for us with a portion of their fall rental proceeds going to the Cinema. Thank you!
Here’s to the Cinema “swag" people! Pauline Neuwirth and Annette Hinkle whipped up the great “Sag Harbor: 100 Years of Cinema in the Village” in mere months, blowing everybody’s minds and setting record sales, and thanks also to Jay McInerney for his great introduction. Lynda Sylvester not only did her great “SAG” caps with a portion to the cinema effort, but also hosted a rockin’ book event for the book! Brittany Torres concocted her delicious Sag Harbor Cinema candle, and then there are the popular Sag Harbor Cinema facade ornaments designed by Terri Doyle which also benefitted the Cinema. And let’s not forget the guys who came out of the woodwork with fabulous support: Tom Bongiorno of Bongiorno Brand with the great Sag Harbor Cinema caps, and Captain Jack Keats of Montauk’s SurfandSlide with the coolest Sag Harbor Cinema T-shirts, who donate all profits after cost back to the Cinema. And Gail Gallagher's Cinema phone cases, notebooks, cups, and other items!
We must thank Anabel Graff, our astonishing assistant, who’s kept all the records and helped with all our tax letters and does it all with utter grace, Christine Reina, our tireless and delightful bookkeeper, Greg Ferraris, our terrific accountant who made last year’s audit happen, and Nicole Christian, who helped us with grant-writing.
Tucker Marder, Christian Scheider & Forrest Gray came to us with their amazing movie The Tree Prophet which we were honored to show as a benefit recently, and at the panel afterwards we were fortunate to have had Carl Safina lend even greater dignity to the event, hosted at the Christ Episcopal Church thanks to Reverend Karen Campbell’s generosity, with a reception catered gratis by Art of Eating at the beautiful home of Bob Weinstein and Eric Hensley. And speaking of the Church, we also thank Kirby Marcantonio for the wonderful outdoor movie screenings there this past summer that benefitted the Cinema!
Last but hardly least, the gigantic donors. Foremost, the man who stepped up first and believed in the Cinema coming back and put his money where his heart was, my husband artist Eric Fischl who contributed $1,000,000 to enable us to be in contract to buy the Cinema. Billy Joel, who early on pledged to name the Popcorn Stand as well as offering a meet-and-greet at our eBay Auction, which was so kindly hosted by eBay CEO Devin Wenig and featuredother great experiences like tea with Julie Andrews, hitting the tennis ball with John McEnroe, SNL tickets thanks to Lorne Michaels, and Golf at the Bridge thanks to Bob Rubin. Deepest gratitude toDorothy Lichtenstein, champion of the arts and archangel for so many important cultural causes here, who contributed so very generously, as well as Susan Goldstein (and the Sunny and Abe Rosenberg Foundation), a longtime Sag Harbor supporter,and Michael and Ninah Lynne,newly of Sag Harbor but already best friends of this effort. These very biggest donors don’t include a few who are anonymous, the many who have donated $25,000, or $50,000, or $100,000, and certainly not the thousands of people for whom a $100 donation is a significant sacrifice of support, which we warmly and gratefully acknowledge. Additionally, we must thank people like Carol Ryan, who chose to honor her late husband Ed Victor by asking for donations in his honor, Steven Gambrel and James Anderson, who asked that wedding gifts in their honor be given to the Cinema, the patient spouses and partners of all of us on all our committees, and Nicole Miller, Bettina Stelle, and E.T. Williams who, besides being generous contributors, went out of their way to make sure that every friend they knew who might contribute was contacted.
Critical as the big donors are, it also means the world to us that we have had over 2,500 people donate to our campaign, and more than 90% of donations have been $1,000 and under.