On our future activities

By Shotgun CinemaPublished on 03/08/2021

For the past seven years, Shotgun Cinema has been a presence in the lively New Orleans film community. This presence has now come to an end, as we – co-founders Angela Catalano and Travis Bird – have moved away from New Orleans.

Travis is now the full-time Technical Director of the Ragtag Film Society, encompassing Ragtag Cinema and the True/False Film Fest in Columbia, MO. As of 2021, we have relocated to mid-central Missouri. For us, this change offers the possibility of a safe harbor against persistent uncertainty of the pandemic, of cinema exhibition, and of infrastructural support for the arts, both locally and nationally. 

Like so many things during the pandemic, we’ve been missing Shotgun Cinema for months by now. We haven’t held a screening since February 2020, and have had only periodic projection work. In normal times we would host a big farewell screening, but these aren’t normal times, so memories of our past events are all we have for now. And in those memories, there’s quite a lot to appreciate. 

We launched Shotgun Cinema in 2014 with almost a full year of screenings in the Marigny Opera House, and right away we were thrilled at the community enthusiasm when we showed titles like In The Mood For Love and The Double to full houses of cinephiles and community members looking for great films. In September of that year, we jammed over 400 people into a Mardi Gras float warehouse for our first screening of Stop Making Sense, which went on to become a biannual show and our signature event. We had a Q&A with director Robert Greene for his film Kate Plays Christine at the Broad Theater. We spent a summer at the Nims Theatre at the University of New Orleans, where we showed Tangerine and launched two seasons of True Orleans, New Orleans’ only documentary film festival and conference. 

In 2016, we debuted our restored Eastman 16mm projector with The Passion of Joan of Arc, with renowned cellist Lori Goldston performing her score to the film live at the Marigny Opera House. From then on, 16mm and experimental film were prominently featured in our programming. We ran prints by Jodie Mack, Bruce Baillie, Oscar Fischinger, and Jack Smith at the New Orleans Photo Alliance gallery. We brought filmmakers to present their work at the Tigermen Den, Southern Rep Theatre, and more. From our first year, we’ve worked with the New Orleans Film Festival, and have expanded to work with other southern film festivals like Sidewalk, Indie Memphis, and Key West. 

So although our initial goal was to open a permanent art house cinema in New Orleans, we wound up specializing in impermanent film events. It’s been difficult to respond to consistent instability, but we’re very proud to have shared as much cinema as we could with New Orleans. We plan to continue our work with southern film presenters and festivals, building on this first phase of our existence. Shotgun Cinema will continue to exist, based in Columbia, MO. But we are taking the year, and the move, to strategize our work in the uncertain cinema exhibition landscape of the future. Please stay tuned for updates.

We sincerely thank everyone who has gotten us this far: all the attendees of our events, our board members past and present, all those who have worked and volunteered for us. From a new place, we’re determined to be a helpful resource for film exhibition and for New Orleans. 

While it’s impossible to thank every individual person who has supported us, we want to acknowledge the folks that helped us to actualize Shotgun Cinema:

  • Thank you to our supportive board of directors (past and present), whose guidance kept us moving in the right direction: Blake Bertuccelli, Larry Blake, Mandi Cambre, Kelley Crawford, Michael Gottwald, Darcy McKinnon, Sergio Padilla, Ivy Wang.
  • To Darcy McKinnon (there’s not enough thanks in the world for you) and NOVAC: thank you for giving us a home base and welcoming us into your fold. We will forever be grateful for the collaboration like Sync Up Cinema, joint holiday parties, post-work drinks at Oxalis (RIP) and Faubourg Wines, and connecting us to the wider film community. 
  • To Larry Blake: you’ve shared endless amounts of knowledge (and equipment) with us, but we’ll miss walking to your place for spirited film conversations the most. Thank you for this wonderful friendship.
  • To Dave Hurlbert and Bill Murray of the Marigny Opera House: without you taking a chance on us in 2014, there’d be no Shotgun Cinema. Thank you for sharing your beautiful space with us.
  • To Clint Bowie and Jolene Pinder: thank you for taking us seriously right off the bat, particularly when most folks didn’t. Nearly all of our Southern film festival connections came from your recommendation, and we can’t thank you enough for that.
  • To Kerry and Paige: You’ve been exceedingly kind and generous to us, and we’ve always been grateful for your enthusiasm and insight. We’ll miss our wonderful conversations about film and the state of the arts and of course, your incredibly fun parties. We hope to catch a film with you both at Film Forum when it’s safe to do so.
  • Cas O’Brien, Jared Lyons, Nigel Copeland, Josh Stover, Alaina Boyett, Josiah Berger, SanChavis Torns, Maureen Wheeler, Kelly Witters, and James Pardue: you’ve been our invaluable and intrepid tech team over the years, and we’re grateful for your willingness to work with us. 
  • Finally, to Sergio Lobo-Navia: you bought the first-ever ticket to Shotgun Cinema and quickly became one of our closest friends. We’re looking forward to seeing you (once it’s safe again) for film talk and dirtbag drinks.

Most sincerely, 

Angela & Travis

Upcoming Screenings