Cork’s arthouse Kino cinema facing its final reel

CONSIDERING the amount of sticking plaster holding its 188 seats together it is, perhaps, no great surprise that Cork’s Kino cinema is to close.

The reason: recessionary times and a slew of creditors knocking on the door.

In appropriately cinematic fashion, the Kino will shut its doors for good on November 29, 13 years to the day that it opened those same doors as the only arthouse cinema outside of Dublin.

The final act of what has been a dramatic 13 years is being played out in the High Court where the architectural firm Dennehy and Dennehy Designs Ltd is suing Mick Hannigan for €51,242 for design work and as part of a group of creditors.

The cinematic “back story” has even a touch of Hollywood about it as Cork’s City Sheriff, Martin Harvey, is poised to send in the bailiffs on foot of a separate unpaid fee of €6,000.

Cue Cork in 2003 when things looked so different as Kino’s owner, Mick Hannigan, succeeded in getting a grant of €750,000 for the redevelopment of the Kino.

The funding, awarded by the Cultural Cinema Consortium run by the Arts Council and the Irish Film Board, was to go towards the cinema’s €1.5m plan to add another screen and a café bar to its Washington Street premises.

The hope was that the work would be completed by the time Cork took on the title of European Capital of Culture in 2005. The consortium’s long-term plan was to develop a circuit of arthouse cinemas in various population centres outside of Dublin. That meant each venue could share film prints with each other to enhance and expand individual programmes and keep costs down.

Not only was it never completed, it didn’t even get beyond the drawing board. In 2004 the cost had spiralled to €2.5m and the completion date was put back to 2006. Cork City Council had granted planning for a complete overhaul of the Kino. The premises was to be gutted and a four-storey structure put in its place, housing three separate cinemas. But, by the middle of 2005 the cost had increased to €3m and, although Mr Hannigan had secured substantial borrowings on top of the grant, there was still a shortfall of €1m.

“We never drew down the grant money,” said Mr Hannigan, “but we had to do a considerable amount of preparatory working including getting a design done and that’s where the debt stems from.”

This may not be the final reel for the Kino, though, as a group has been formed to help save it. Headed by William Galinsky, artistic director of Cork Midsummer Festival, the Facebook community on the internet is galvanising support to keep the creditors at bay.

A public meeting is being planned for Saturday.

* To find out more or lend your support got to: www.facebook.com and find ‘save the kino’.


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