A historic and much-loved Krakow art house cinema doomed to closure has been saved at the last moment – and won a major prize to boot.
Kino ARS, on ul. Św. Jana, was the centre of an international media campaign, when the owners of the building upped the price of the lease for the prime city centre property. The new asking price – representing a 100 per cent increase, was beyond the means of the cinema management, and it looked as though it would close its doors on 17 years of history, on April 30.
However, following a thousands-strong Facebook campaign and reports in the international media – including the UK’s Guardian newspaper – a new deal was struck which allowed the cinema to stay open. It didn’t emerge unscathed, though, having lost its main room, which will be let to a new tenant. The new deal, which means ARS has lost around 240 of its seats and can now accommodate just 300, is valid for five years.
As if to add sugar to the rainbow, the month of May also saw ARS pick up a prize from the Polish Film Institute, for its services to cinema in Poland.
In a public statement published on the cinema website, ARS director Andrzej Kucharczyk thanked all those who had supported the cinema during what looked to be its final days.
On collecting the award in Gdynia, Mr Kucharczyk said: “A few days ago it was unclear whether ARS would survive. It has been running for seven years, so I am very pleased that we have managed to save it. We failed to save the ‘Ars’ hall, but the others survive. We live.”