After almost seven years and over 370 events, Park Circle Films (PCF) is closing its doors. "It was a pretty sudden decision," says director of operations Sarah Long. Citing the personal reasons of several board members (including her own, Long is about to move out of the state), Long says that PCF's finale is bittersweet.
City Paper highlighted PCF
four years ago when the organization started growing, expecting big things from the little nonprofit film group, comparing it to Columbia's popular arts hub, the (also nonprofit) Nickelodeon Theater. Unfortunately, those dreams never really came to fruition. "Running a nonprofit film society isn't simple," says Long who admits that financial issues have also played a role in the society's decision to shut down. "I would love for a phoenix to rise from the ashes," she adds, pointing to interested volunteers and community members who could get together to re-create a similar film society.
Long hasn't given up hope for Charleston cinephiles however. She says that there's definitely an interest in independent films in the community — there just aren't that many outlets. "It was my personal goal to bring more independent films downtown," she says — a difficult task given there's no operating movie theater in downtown Charleston. PCF did recently hook up with the Charleston Music Hall where they will be showing
two final documentaries in the next two weeks. Long hopes the venue will continue in this tradition, bringing more films downtown.
"No one showed the kind of documentaries that Park Circle Films showed," says Long. "Our main problem is that people forgot we were there. They would say 'Oh, yeah, they're doing great things,' but then Netflix wins the battle a lot of the time," she says.
Long is sad about the end of this era of her life, but she's grateful for Charleston's arts community, calling it one of the most supportive ones she's seen in the country.
Help Long and the rest of Park Circle Films say goodbye
at an informal party this Saturday, from 7-8:30 p.m. Long plans to show a slideshow of photos taken at the movie house over the years.