Brussels' iconic Cinema Nova turns 27 years old today (Tuesday), but there is not much time to celebrate as money is still needed for the large-scale rescue operation Supernova Coop to save the independent cinema from a surging property market.
In 1997, Cinema Nova was founded by a group of enthusiastic cinephiles who obtained a temporary usage agreement for the abandoned but mythical Studio Arenberg cinema. But as the independent cinema blows out 27 candles, high property prices and its expiring lease could mean the end of Brussels' retro film theatre.
"The lease may be expiring, but Cinema Nova's last screening is far from imminent. Cinema Nova has no plans whatsoever to emulate Janis Joplin or Kurt Cobain and join the infamous 27 Club," the organisation said in a press release.
Pulling out all the stops
Rather than a birthday celebration, the 100-strong volunteer team has cooked up a thematic film programme that will also shine a light on the Supernova initiative for seven weeks.
As Nova's lease will soon expire and the rising real estate prices in the city could mean the end of the collective project, the organisation put together a fundraising campaign. The team want to raise €794,000 to be able to buy the leasehold – which would secure the future of the cinema for the next 68 years at the lowest possible rent.
Before the campaign was launched on 25 October, Supernova Coop managed to raise €306,050 through a private appeal and with founder shares. Not even three weeks later, on 13 November, a further €97,000 was raised – totalling 50% of the required amount.
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A total of €590,900 has so far been raised, with nine weeks left to raise the remaining 26% of the target amount (just over €200,000). "The independent film house is standing its ground and pulling out all the stops to raise the last quarter of the target amount from potential cooperators."
The price for the leasehold is €680,000 and must be paid by the end of March 2024. As there are also urgent renovation works to be done in the building, the collection target is slightly higher, at €794,000.