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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Rialto Cinema Forced to Move After 10 Years

Sonoma County’s Favorite Art House Forced to Move
After Stellar Decade of Innovative Entertainment

Rialto Cinemas Lakeside – a theatre synonymous with high quality art and independent films since its founding more than 10 years ago – has lost its lease and will be forced to find a new location after August 31.

“We were shocked and dismayed to learn that the property owners, Lynn Duggan and Family, who had repeatedly given us every indication that all was well with our lease, decided to kick us out and lease to a competitor without any attempt to negotiate a new lease with the Rialto,”
said Ky J. Boyd, Proprietor. “We were completely unaware that our location was at risk.”

Owners of the property, Lynn Duggan and the Duggan Family Partnership, have leased the theatre effective September 1, 2010, to Dan Tocchini’s SR Entertainment Group, which runs the Airport, 3rd Street Cinema Six, and Roxy theatres.

Rialto Cinemas Lakeside opened in 2000 with the mission of bringing the best films in the world to Sonoma County, noted Boyd. “We cater to the vital and active audience that wants to see movies outside the Hollywood mainstream.”

Consistently ranked as one of the top 50 art houses in the country, Rialto Cinemas Lakeside has won Best Movie Theatre in Sonoma County for nine consecutive years by local movie-goers and has been profitable since its inception due to the caliber of its films, and such innovations as Movies in the Morning, the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD, and London’s National Theatre Live programming. Rialto Cinemas Lakeside was the first theatre in the country to present the annual Oscar shorts program as a week-long engagement in 2001, which due it its tremendous success, has led the shorts being screened in over 125 theatres nationwide annually.

Both the Metropolitan Opera and The National Theater of London have agreed to allow Rialto Cinemas to continue their popular programming at alternative locations in Sonoma County following their departure from the 551 Summerfield Road location in Santa Rosa this August.

In addition to partnering with numerous non profit organizations in the community to help raise funds (such as Face to Face, Council on Aging, Jewish Film Festival, KRCB, Sonoma County Library Foundation and Santa Rosa High School Art Quest program to name a few), the theatre sponsors a literacy project at Slater Middle School, providing free movies during the year as an incentive to reward students for reading. Boyd estimates that the Rialto has helped local non- profits raise over $100,000 annually.

“We are actively searching for a permanent new location in Sonoma County,” explains Boyd. “In the meantime, we have plans to take the Rialto on the road after August 31. We may have lost our lease, but we haven’t lost our passion for bringing the best films to this community that has been so supportive the past 10 years. We didn’t devote ten years of our lives to throw in the towel just because someone doesn’t want to lease a building to us. Rialto Lakeside Cinemas will find a new permanent home and we are confident that our loyal audience will make the journey with us.”

It will be business as usual at the popular theatre through August 2010.

Ky Boyd

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