DCTV, one of the nation’s oldest and most honored media arts centers, will open its own nonprofit documentary movie theater in New York on Friday, September 23, 2022. Years in the making and set in its beloved fire stationbuilding in Chinatown, ‘Fire station: DCTV Movie theater for Documentary Film’ will feature first-run films and curated programs. The theater will offer a space dedicated to documentaryfilms, making it one of the few of its kind in the world.
DCTV was co-founded by the Oscar nominee and documentary The faithful Jon Alpert (Life of Crime: 1984 – 2020) and Keiko Tsuno, who currently serve as co-executive directors of the organization and who together have received 16 Emmy Awards. Dara Messinger, the organization’s longtime programming director, will oversee the theater’s first-run and curated programming.
“We used to show our documentaries on the corner of Canal Street from an old mail truck we bought for $5,” Alpert and Tsuno recall. “We had two black and white televisions and a sound system that looked like two tin cans and a piece of string. It took 50 years to build the DCTV Fire station Movie theaterthis beautiful palace for documentary movies. We want to thank everyone who helped us get here and we can’t wait to show you around.”
“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to program for Fire stationand to help build a new home for documentary exhibition,” said Dara Messinger. “My hope is that the theater will become a go-to destination to celebrate, dialogue and reflect on all that non-fiction film has to offer.”
Founded in 1972, DCTV has not only produced countless award-winning films documentaryproductions, but has also hosted community screenings, discussions, youth media and continuing education programs. The organization’s first public screenings and documentaries—often made by residents coming together to collectively film local issues—helped bring about crucial changes, including the ousting of corrupt school boards, securing community control over their local hospital and fighting for the rights of taxi drivers and sweatshop workers. .
In line with this philosophy, DCTV envisions its Fire station Movie theater as an opportunity to help change a disempowering commercial culture, where filmmakers and moviegoers can come together in appreciation and curiosity about non-fiction film. Every day, audiences can expect an exciting slate of adventure films, lively conversations, and a home to connect with others. By highlighting the work of revolutionary artists, it will share unique realities from an international and hyperlocal point of view. And defending a myriad of documentary styles, from journalistic tradition to boundary-pushing form, it will help ensure the enduring power of nonfiction.
The theater will feature a 67-seat single screen, 4K projection, 7.1 surround sound and interactive features to connect audiences around the world, with adjoining concessions and event space.
Architectural flourishes remain or recreate the original building: the wood in the hall is reused from the original stable inside the historic building. fire station, and the concession stand is a historic ALF fire truck cab donated by the City of Tazewell Fire Department in Tazewell, Virginia. The wooden slats that adorn the theater wall were donated by documentary filmmaker, Hart Perry.