HOT DOC: The Last Picture Show?

Dear Friends,

In early December we received a perplexing Christmas present from Moore College of Art & Design — a three-sentence email from their recently appointed Dean of Students Ruth Robbins, a person we had had no prior communication from (and indeed, had never even heard of).

It said: “I am writing to notify you that your contract for Secret Cinema at Moore College of Art & Design is up for renewal as of December 13, 2011. We have decided not to renew the contract going forward. I wish you the best of luck with Secret Cinema.”

Just like that. After 15 years there, and well over 150 screenings, bringing thousands of nice people through their doors for the first time.

While our screenings elsewhere continue, having the rug pulled out from the Secret Cinema’s main outpost throws our entire operation into jeopardy. For this reason, I am asking you to help ask Moore to change their mind.

The administration at Moore evidently has its own reasons for wanting to get rid of Secret Cinema (unstated though they are), but I am optimistic that if enough people tell them that they think the series and the venue are important to them, they may reverse their decision.

A person with some insight on the situation at Moore suggested that the most effective messages the public could write to Moore’s administration would be positive ones, expressing that they like coming to Moore and feel passionately about the venue. Of course, it wouldn’t hurt to add some kind words about what Secret Cinema’s programming means to you.

If you see value in what we do, please write to the following persons stating so. A simple message explaining who you are, what you thought of your experiences at the Secret Cinema at Moore, etc.

It could be especially valuable for any Moore students or alumni to write, but everyone counts here.

And please copy ME on any communications!

It will also help to “like” our new Facebook page ( , and to pass this email on to any potential supporters you know.

We know Secret Cinema is loved by its audience, and in December alone I was randomly approached by two strangers — one a recent graduate of Moore — thanking me for doing it, and recounting favorite screenings. We constantly hear from people who have moved to other cities about how much they miss Secret Cinema. As you probably know, although we love our other screening sites, we saved much of our best programming for Moore. We suspect it is your favorite Secret Cinema venue also.

Thanks for reading this. I thank you deeply for any help in this matter.

Best wishes for 2012,

Jay Schwartz
The Secret Cinema

Please write to ALL of the following people:

Gladys “Happy” Fernandez, President of College < >
Barbara Ornstein, Executive Asst. to the President < >
Joan Stevens, Special Assistant to the President < >
Ruth Robbins, Dean of Students < >
Emily Johnson, Director of Student Activities and Facilities Rentals < >
Amanda Mott, Communications Director < >
Jay Schwartz, The Secret Cinema <>

To make that easy, you can cut and paste the following block of email addresses in the “TO:” field in your email program:,,,,,,

Moore College of Art & Design
20th Street and The Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1179
215-568-8017 Fax

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