The Grand Lviv Cinema Hall

This is the story about two "Inglorious Masters".
They are the ones to bring "Dead Cinema Halls Society" back to life.
They know the secret — "Quantum of Revitalization".

The Curious Case of Andriy Porodko

To get to work, Andriy Porodko has to leave his house and just cross one street. He is 32 years old and has been living in Lviv all his life. When he was a teenager he used to go to the Horikhovy Hai Park. In the park, a closed cinema hall was the place of entertainment for local youth, for example a disco.

Seven years ago Andriy returned to the park, this time, as an inhabitant of this district. The hardly working cinema was an eyesore for him. Two years ago he came back to this cinema theatre not as a viewer but as it's manager. That is time when the history of Lviv Film Center begins.
The first thing Andriy Porodko has done as a cinema manager was changing it's programme. Indie movies which people can't watch at big commercial cinema theatres are his priority. Andriy wants to satisfy everyone's taste — cartoons for kids in the afternoon, premieres and classics in the evening.

The weeks just before the reopening, the Film Center's team literally lived in the cinema. They were doing reparations and design changes. They also bought new equipment. This year Andriy climbed to the roof with his colleagues. In the summer, there are open-air screenings on the rooftop. Later, there will be a leisure center for children with disabilities. Such projects are not accidental for Andriy Porodko, he is the head of NGO called SAYI (Socialy Active Youth Initiative) which helps children with intelectual disabilities.
andriy porodko
People's opinions are two-sided. There are people who say: "Super, there is something being done, something is changing!" However, there are also apathetic people. They were used to see the building closed, it was quiet and there was trash everywhere. Initiatives just scare them.
One thing is when people don't care, but another when they have an aggression on Andriy's activities. There are always people who want to break or steal something. Last time it was a surveillance camera, this time — right after the interview — TV and equipment from the hall. Usually the offenders are inhabitants of the district. In most cases, they are easy to find.

Fortunatly Andriy always finds help from an engineer and projectionist Mykhailo Luts — a man who lived the history of the cinema hall on his skin.

Fantastic Mr. Luts

1978. 16-years-old Mykhailo studies to become a cinema mechanic. He needs to gain practical experience and his dream comes true when the new cinema for children, "Orliatko" is opening in Lviv. Movie tickets are sold out every day and Mykhailo shows six to eight films per day. "The children are watching the movies and don't want to leave the cinema hall", says Luts.

Mykhailo Luts stayed in touch with the cinema hall even after he joined the army. Currently, eight people work in the cinema hall. That is only half number of the staff they used to have at the beginning of the 90s, before the cinema temporally stopped functioning for 25 years. Mykhailo Luts, just like before, is still responsible for taking care of the film equipment and the movie streaming.

The collapse of the USSR was the reason for the destruction of cinema halls throughout Ukraine. A lot of buildings all over the country were passed into private hands. About 20 old cinema halls in Lviv were privatized and not used as cinemas anymore. Some were used for other purposes, such as night clubs, others were just closed. Seven of those cinema halls are still in municipal property like the Lviv Film Center.

The main costs of Lviv Film Center are funded by the city's budget. Its' team also tries to get financial support from the community and local initiatives or from private businesses that want to help. While the employees had to be payed by the income of the cinema last year, they are now supported by the city budget.

Despite today's problems, Mykhailo launches the cinema projector. How many cinemas had he seen in the past 40 years? He doesn't even try to figure out this answer. But he is not tired. He dreams of long queues at his cinema hall and enough money to show new premiere films.

Some Like it Decentralized

Lviv is known as the cultural capital of Ukraine. But the city center is more and more becoming a tourist zone and local citizens don't visit it too often. Nevertheless the center is not only the heart of the city but also the cultural epicenter. As the city grows, a lot of people live in the suburbs where apart from church there are almost no places for cultural and social exchange. To improve the situation, some initiatives were started. The main tool that is used is revitalization. Libraries were turned into open working spaces and old cultural centers were reopened, just like the Lviv Film Centre.
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