What can you buy for a nickel? An immersive, experimental film experience.
The Mini Microcinema—created by 2015 Globe Grantee, Jacqueline Wood—is dedicated to bringing people together to see experimental film that’s outside of the mainstream. What started as a Globe Grant has since expanded to a new storefront space on Main St. in OTR.
The Mini is both for and by the people. The new space is powered by the community through leadership and volunteering. Films can also be curated by the community, so that the screen remains an active reflection of the neighborhood where it resides. The Mini is a great example of how Globe experiences can have a life beyond the 1805 Elm St. space.
We asked Jacqueline about her journey from the Globe to a permanent space. Here’s what she said:
How did you first become interested in experimental film?
As a college student, I interned at the Ann Arbor Film Festival in Michigan, which is the longest running experimental film festival in the country. From that moment on I fell in love with alternative film, video and media. I eventually got my masters degree at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for film and video with a focus in experimental film and installations. So throughout my life as an artist and a maker, I knew about micro cinemas.
Where did the idea for The Mini Microcinema come from?
This is nothing new—people have been gathering in empty storefronts with chairs, a projector, an audience and maybe a band or a popcorn machine since the beginning of movies. Technically micro cinemas are just a modern form of the storefront nickelodeon. You come in and it costs a nickel to watch the movie. It’s nothing new—but there was nothing like it in Cincinnati. I’m excited to bring all of my experiences and vision and everything I’ve learned from living in Michigan and Chicago and bring it here and share it with Cincinnati.
How was the experience of opening your project at the Globe?
We did 29 screenings over two months, and we were open during the day for people to come in and look at the flatscreen art and posters. I had a lot of projects going on. I was teaching and running my company, and suddenly I’m worrying about popcorn, and sweeping the lobby, and finding volunteers and hosting guest curators—almost every single visiting curator stayed with me.
I planned for months and months on this project. It was a funny wakeup call. You can imagine and think and plan and dream, then all of sudden when it happens, you have to do.
How did you go from the Globe to a permanent storefront space?
Continuing The Mini was always something I wanted to do. I feel like film and video outside of mainstream—which is what we show—needs to have a permanent home in Cincinnati. It has before, but there is not a space (that I know of) currently open that shows only outside the mainstream moving image film, video and media.
We finished off the Globe residency with an amazing email list and an amazing audience of people who were really excited for what The Mini was offering. I already knew at the end of last summer that we would have a second opportunity—before we even finished I was approached by Matt Distel at The Carnegie in Covington. He knew my work and invited me to do a version of The Mini at The Carnegie in March and April.
I’m very excited to announce that we are opening a permanent home on Main Street in OTR! The Mini team and I are working on the space now, and we will be opening our doors Fall 2016. Now that we have a permanent space—and there’s not a time restriction—we are working on creating an infrastructure for this organization to be sustainable. Having a permanent space is an absolute dream come true. I had no idea it would happen so fast, but...it’s happening. The Mini just had its first birthday on July 3rd…crazy! I am so thankful to PL for helping to launch the microcinema!
What were some obstacles you faced in that process?
The first big obstacle was not really knowing what would happen—having a big question mark at the end of the Globe, but then having faith that something would happen. Funding was a big obstacle. I applied for the Center for Great Neighborhood Creative grant, and received funding support from the Carnegie.
The next obstacle was keeping energy. I have a full time job running my own video production company. This project has been my baby. So what’s been awesome is finding people who are just as interested and committed to making The Mini a success.
What advice do you have for Globe Grant applicants?
Dream big. Think outside the box. And community is really, really important. I think that PL is leaning toward work that involves the community in active ways rather than traditional ways. Creating a project based on those specifications from the beginning is going to help you in the long run. If you try to create a project and then fit in that community piece at the end, it’s not going to flow. But if you always keep in mind the community, inclusiveness and accessibility, then you’re really going to have some great success with PL.
What advice do you have for Globe Grant winners?
I would recommend thinking of People’s Liberty as a spark. They’re going to give you the tools and resources in order to really take that first step with your project. After that, if you work hard, the opportunities are endless. It will lead to more opportunities. My advice is don’t think of the grant and the Globe as a self contained entity. Think of it as a first step in a longer journey.
Do you have a big idea? Applications for the 2017 Globe Grants are accepted now through July 20. Book a 1-on-1 with the PL staff to talk about your project idea, or email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions. Apply now.