Curtain goes down on Kino cinema

DESPITE an epic campaign to keep it open, Cork’s Kino – the only independent arthouse cinema outside of Dublin – is to close this weekend. The building on Washington Street will be put up for sale.

Owner Mick Hannigan held a meeting with staff just before lunchtime yesterday to confirm what they already knew. “It is a very sad occasion, especially for the staff here,” he said. “It wasn’t just a job for them. They also had a major emotional commitment to the place and shared with me a love of quality cinema. I also feel sorry, of course, for my fellow film buffs, those keen film goers who enjoyed a weekly trip to the Kino.”

The cinema will finally close on Sunday night after incurring €60,000 in debts during a planned expansion which never got off the ground.

Asked whether the cinema closure would be permanent or if there was any hope the Kino could reopen, Mr Hannigan said that remained to be seen.

“My financial resources are depleted. We are pursuing all avenues and it is my fervent hope that the Kino can reopen but, for the moment, we have creditors to deal with.”

Mr Hannigan added that discussions with Cork City Council and the Department of the Arts would continue.

Sunday night is also the 13th anniversary of the opening of the Kino and the final screening will be of the movie Shine, which was the opening movie in 1996.

Earlier this month, hopes had grown that the Kino would survive when more than 300 people attended a public meeting to launch a campaign to save it.

Cork Midsummer Festival Director William Galinsky set up a Facebook group called Save the Kino which attracted more than 8,000 followers.

The public meeting was to have been held at the Kino premises but, such was the level of interest, that it had to be transferred to Cork Opera House.

It was attended by Mr Hannigan, Foreign Affairs Minister Micheál Martin, Labour TD Ciarán Lynch and Senator Dan Boyle of the Green Party and saw the appointment of a steering committee whose members include Mr Galinsky, solicitor Catherine Kirwan and manager of the Everyman Palace theatre, Eimear O’Herlihy.

The steering committee was tasked with raising funds to pay off the €60,000 debt and to develop a business plan to put the 188-seat cinema on a sound financial footing.

Mr Hannigan said: “Everyone wants the Kino to continue and I hope that goodwill can be translated into action to save it. If not, so be it. We have had 13 good years and we are proud of what we have achieved.”

What put the Kino into debt was not a fall in attendances, but plans to expand the premises from a one-screen to a three-screen cinema.

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