Sag Harbor Cinema appointed award-winning producer and educator Gillian Gordon as the first executive director in March, and her plans for the East End film community are kicking into gear. With a slew of highly anticipated film releases as well as a new café and bar, the Sag Harbor Cinema has an exciting calendar ahead with Gordon at the helm.
Although the landmark doesn’t reopen until November, the Sag Harbor Cinema will turn on its iconic sign Memorial Day weekend to ring in this new era—and usher in the season for summer blockbusters. Gordon speaks with Hamptons about her personal connection to Sag Harbor, her aspirations for the cinema and, of course, her love for film.
What drew you to the Sag Harbor Cinema?
GILLIAN GORDON: It has always been my favorite cinema since childhood. I love that it has always been adventurous about the films it shows. It is a real cinema that cares about preserving the history of film, as well as being a friendly place for fun and entertainment.
How will the new Sag Harbor Cinema differ from its predecessor?
GG: The new Sag Harbor Cinema will have three screens and three floors. The belief in this cinema and how important it is to our community is key. So many people have donated time and money to bring the cinema back to life after the tragic fire [in 2016]. It is an honor to be a part of such an exciting new venture.
What are your hopes for the future of the organization?
GG: We hope to build a sustainable nonprofit cinema that is a model for the rest of the world, celebrate new film and old films, support filmmakers and educate those who might not otherwise access the cinema. We will be offering masterclasses, workshops, preview screenings and retrospectives to look back but also to the future of media, like VR.
What events are on the horizon for this summer?
GG: There will be some exciting previews of new films that I can’t really talk about. A major Hollywood comedy director will be curating a fantastic series of comedy films for summer that we are running at Pierson High School Auditorium. In the fall, we will be celebrating Julie Andrews’ new book, Homework: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years, with screenings and a book-signing. She wrote it with her daughter, board member Emma Walton Hamilton. And that’s all before the cinema opens!
What films are you most excited about this summer?
GG: My personal list to see includes Booksmart directed by the divine Olivia Wilde; The Dead Don’t Die, Jim Jarmusch’s new film premiering at Cannes; Shaft because who doesn’t want to see Samuel L. Jackson in this remake of the seminal 1971 hit; Skin, based on the true story of a white supremacist who makes the choice of changing his life. My daughter, Mirren Gordon-Crozier, did the costumes, and they are awesome. And The Lion King because I am a sucker for the music and animals. Just watching the trailer will make you weep.
What do you love about film?
GG: I love films because it is a special personal experience that connects with dreams and memories. But most importantly, I love to go to the cinema. I love the communal experience of watching a film with other people—and the popcorn! 90 Main St., Sag Harbor, sagharborcinema.org
Photography by: Photography by Tai Lam