It’s the end of an era for the historic Bloor Cinema, and the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the Annex rep theatre. Earlier today, Hot Docs announced that it has entered into a joint venture with Blue Ice Film to manage and program the theatre beginning this Fall. The group also plans to revitalize the space by making much needed upgrades to the Bloor’s technical equipment; that means new projectors, a new sound system, new seating and more. A major overhaul of the lobby and the façade are also in the works.
Given the status of Hot Docs as one of the world’s largest documentary film festivals, it should come as no surprise that theatre plans to screen primarily documentary films when it re-opens. Hot Docs has called the Bloor Cinema home for more than 12 years, so in addition to regular doc programming they will continue to host their annual festival and Doc Soup screenings at the venue. The cinema will continue to play host to other festivals as well; fans of Toronto After Dark will be relieved to know that the horror festivals will continue to call the Bloor home for the time being.
Hot Docs’ executive director Chris McDonald calls the revitalization “a remarkable opportunity”, citing independent theatres like the Bloor as an integral part of Toronto’s film culture.
It is a relief to see the cinema in the hands of devoted film-lovers like Hot Docs and not in the clutches of hungry developers eager to replace Annex landmarks with discount stores and condos. This can only be a good thing for cinema in Toronto, we are very excited to see what Hot Docs has planned for the space.
Hot Docs will be consulting with industry stakeholders and the public on their proposed changes to the theatre. Anyone interested in providing feedback should contact [email protected].
Read the full press release here.