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Miami Beach Film Society

Organization Summary

The Miami Beach Film Society (MBFS) has been a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization in existance since 1993. The timing is finally right for our mission to have a permanent home, so our new focus will be the development of The Miami Beach Cinematheque, which will provide a space for year-round programming and a working environment for the headquarters of the Miami Beach International Film Festival.

MBFS has been presenting programming in unique ways for years on Miami Beach, combining film with other important aspects of Miami Beach culture such as the utilization of the celebrated architecture (such as “Vintage Films in Art Deco Spaces”), the strong restaurant industry presence of the beach (with “Food and Film: Movies to Dine For”, a five year sold-out series of films in restaurants where the chef creates a menu inspired by the film of the night), Miami Beach history (with mini-festivals such as “The Esther Williams Film Festival at Miami Beach Swimming Pools”), and collaboration with other cultural institutions (such as “Shock of the New: Film in the New Age” with the Wolfsonian Museum, and “Ingmar Bergman: Women Dreams, and Demons” with the Bass Museum of Art).

We have currently been participating in the City of Miami Beach “2nd Thursdays” program, where the non-profit cultural arts organizations sponsor a free activity for beach residents and visitors. To gain momentum for our concept on Espanola Way, we have been presenting French films at the French Cafe A La Folie which will eventually be our next door neighbor. We will continue the series and expand on the idea, to include free films in the newly restored Plaza de Espana (see details below) while continuing to present in smaller venues such as A La Folie, and of course, we will show free films every “2nd Thursday” at the Cinematheque.  

The Cinematheque will not only become a cultural “anchor” for Espanola Way, but for the City of Miami Beach. Besides a presentation space unlike any other, we will have a “museum” aspect, concentrating specifically on our realm of expertise, complementing the other museums on South Beach, to form a well rounded cultural network. The Cinematheque will be the home of the Cinematheque Archive, one of the world’s most complete and impressive collections of rare souvenir program booklets spanning the entire history of cinema, from 1895 to today, which will be utilized for exhibition, education, and promotion. An on-line tour of the Cinematheque Archive “The History of Cinema Illustrated by Souvenir Programs” will form a basis for the general understanding and reference of film history highlights, and will help to define the areas of programming at the Cinematheque and provide an entertaining and fascinating tool for people interested in furthering their knowledge of cinema history. Original programs from many countries, telling the story of American Silents and The Golden Age of the Studio System, German Expressionism, Russian Constructivism, Italian Neorealism, French Nouvelle Vague, and many more contemporary genres and movements will be utilized for in-house exhibitions. The on-line tour will eventually be published, and the exhibition will go on tour to other cinematheques and film museums around the world. 

Below are examples of the over 5,000 original souvenir programmes from the Cinematheque Archive, spanning the entire history of cinema from 1895 to today, making up the on-line educational tour and eventual exhibition “The History Of Cinema Illustrated By Souvenir Programmes”:

  • The Kiss, Edison 1896 USA/American
  • Cabiria, Pastrone 1914 Italy/American
  • Potemkin, Eisenstein 1925 USSR/German
  • Metropolis, Lang 1926, Germany/German
  • Citizen Kane, Welles 1941 USA/American
  • Masculin/Feminin, Godard 1966, France/Danish
  • Ugetsu, Mizoguchi 1953 Japan /German
  • Persona, Bergman 1966, Sweden/Austrian
  • Blue Velvet, Lynch 1986, USA/German 

We have already formed several strategic alliances with various organizations and businesses that will help or have helped to make the Cinematheque and MBIFF a success.

The City of Miami Beach itself is an important ally, as a supporter of the Cinematheque and co-presenter of MBIFF. Director of Tourism Michael Aller and Mayor David Dermer, as well as other city officials have been supportive and helpful in recognizing the value of this important project.

The independent special event producer, TMG Productions, which produces our annual “Oscar Night” (an official licensed party of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences itself), will continue to aid in fundraising for that annual party, and for others in the future, such as the special events for MBIFF.

Other professionals “in the field” (not based in Miami, but in other areas of the world in the film industry) will be of tremendous importance to development of sponsorship, programming, and alliances,  for the Cinematheque and MBIFF. For example,  Jesse Rodriguez, former Operations Manager for the Chicago Film Festival and other film festival capacities, will be a consultant in many development and operational areas, including sponsorship and programming. Sandy Mandelberger, of International Media Resources, will be consultant in development and liaison in the international film festival circuit.

Cultural organizations such as the New World Symphony, The Miami City Ballet, The Wolfsonian, The Bass Museum, and others all can or have participated in collaboration with MBFS. Collaborative presentations will be a major part of the Cinematheque, such as accompaniment by musical duets, dancers, or performance artists. MBIFF will specialize in collaboration to make a festival that incorporates many arts.

Schools and universities will be a major part of Cinematheque programming, and the Fisher Fineberg school will benefit by having the Cinematheque at its border. We plan to unite the schools by preparing programming with the schools in mind.

2.1 Programming

Programming at the Cinematheque will be a varied collection of types of nights that serve a wide spectrum of local Miami Beach and visitor contingencies. It will also offer several workshops and demonstrations that will continue the MBFS mission and allow a wider audience to participate in the Cinematheque activities. Tuesday through Sunday will have regular nights of specialized programming, and there will be creative monthly special events such as “Food & Film” where the best chefs provide a demo of their culinary inspirations based on a film. Also a monthly Meet The Artists event for the “2nd Thursdays Miami Beach Cultural Arts Night” will concentrate on bringing an arts appreciation to local students and independent film enthusiasts by allowing them to meet the directors and discuss their work.

Throughout the year the Cinematheque will also be available as a supplemental space for all the local film festivals, as a hub and meeting place for information and activities such as panels, intimate screenings, and photography exhibitions related to the current festival.

Miami Beach Cinematheque

Monthly Calendar (not including annual events such as festivals that would change this regular programming)

(dark night available for private and corporate meetings)

8:30pm ~Yoga and Film~
A transcendental visual and aural experience with non-narrative film.
Mats available for an actual enhanced yoga class.

8:30pm Café Con Cinema
Films en Espanol, supplemented by tapas, and Flamenco or Salsa preludes

8:30pm Views From The uNderground
Cutting edge/experimental films from the microcinema movement that you won’t find at the cineplex

and every 2nd Thursday (free)
Meet the Artists
Your chance to meet the directors and discuss their work

8:30pm Foreign Film Friday*
Films from the rest of the world

11:30am Jazz Filmbrunch
A light brunch with vintage films and a jazz intro

8:30pm Indies Under The Stars*
Independent films inside or in the courtyard

11:30am Classical Filmbrunch
Light fare and silent or not-so-silent films with accompaniment

8:30pm GaySunDayNite
Gay themed films with, uh, dramatic intros, to say the least

and once a month on Sunday nights
“FOOD & FILM: Movies To Dine For”
South Beach’s best chefs demonstrate their talents, inspired by food on film.

*outdoor screenings weather permitting

THE FESTIVAL OF FILM FESTIVALS: The Miami Beach International Film Festival

THE FESTIVAL OF FILM FESTIVALS will be the largest annual project of MBFS, in collaboration with several international partners, and is in development as the Cinematheque opens. Debuting a year after the Cinematheque opening, the concept of the festival is to bring together the winners of the other international film festivals, in an end-of-the-year round-up, to compete once more in the main competition category.

MBIFF will be the last international film festival of the year, collecting the best of the best. Film festival directors from the chosen festivals (rotating every year to include 10-12) will be invited to present their winner, with the film’s director and stars, to promote their festival and the winning film.

There will be sidebars to the festival also, such as Florida On Film celebrating our rich tradition of local film making and festivals. For one week a year the Cinematheque will be everywhere, not just at its intimate year ’round home. The Cinematheque will remain the meeting place for the juries, the press conferences, and advance tickets and sales of official merchandise, but most of the screenings would be at various venues on South Beach.

2.2 Facilities

The Cinematheque Location is planned for 508 Espanola Way, just off the Plaza de Espana, in the historic “Spanish Village” in the heart of the Art Deco District of South Beach. It is housed in a 1925 Gothic Revival section of the Mediterranean Style Village. The city of Miami Beach is restoring the block with a million dollar renovation that includes streetscape upgrades, historically correct lamp posts, and iron signage.  Next door is an authentic French cafe/creperie, as well as other restaurants and shops in development. Included in the city renovation plans is a major new pedestrian “esplanade” that will connect Lincoln Road to Espanola Way which leads directly to Plaza de Espana. The Cinematheque will  help change the reputation of Espanola Way by becoming a major cultural anchor for the historic street, and it will bring new light to the area that has been inactive for years. It will continue the original 1925 plans of architect N.T.B Roney by providing space for bohemian artists within a unique revival of architectural styles.   

The Cinematheque Facilities

With design by the celebrated interior designer Patrick Kennedy (designer of the Hotel Astor and Sagamore, among many other spaces on South Beach and beyond) the intimate Main Room will be the hub of activity where most programming will take place and films will be shown. The space is a Photographic Arts Gallery that shows films, as opposed to a formal theatre. It will be a small cafe/lounge-style arrangement for a relaxed viewing experience, with a seating capacity of less than 50. Not meant to be a presenting space for large festivals (such as the Miami Beach International Film Festival that will be mainly presented in other locations), but rather a space conducive to a year-round programming schedule of smaller scale, it will also be the main office for the larger festival, as well as the space for announcements associated with larger events, specialized and invitational screenings, and mini festivals. Continuing the fantasy tradition of Espanola Way, the ceiling will be a starred tribute to the “atmospheric theatres” of the 1920s and 30s. The design will be a clean updated space with Andalusian and Gothic influences, utilized as a gallery and screening room by night, and a post production studio by day.  

The Cinematheque Gallery will also be within the main room, featuring ongoing exhibitions of world class cutting edge photography, graphics, video art, and performance art. The Cinematheque Archive and other collections will also appear as exhibitions.

The photographic gallery will have a strong alliance with the internationally known photography showcase. The showcase is a  collection of international photographers who will be given the opportunity to have month long exhibitions at the Cinematheque and will form the base for a strong photographic presence in the arts on Miami Beach, another underdeveloped area.

“Classic Concessions” will be available during the film screenings, such as fresh popcorn, Cinematheque Sodas made from Italian syrups, juices, and seltzer spritzers (instead of modernized carbonation machines), and Tropical Sorbetto in frozen lemons, limes, and coconuts. Included will be favorite packaged candies from all over the world reminding people of home.

The second presentation space, also with an intimate seating capacity, will be the outdoor hotel courtyard that is next to the main gallery. Therefore the customers of the Cinematheque have two options for viewing “under the stars, indoors or out”.  

The Florida Room is a production entity that will be servicing the Cinematheque on an on-going basis. The office/production room will be located within the Cinematheque and the placement creates synergy and mutual benefits for in-house productions and for the film industry that will be able to utilize the facilities. Besides offering services and facilities for film makers such as editing and sound development, there will be in-house introduction clips made for the Cinematheque and MBIFF, and “Miami Beach Newsreels”  which will mix nostalgic Miami Beach history with modern coverage of Miami Beach events. film makers will make the “On-Screen Ads” for Cinematheque sponsors and Cinematheque products and services. This will allow the Cinematheque to form a standard of quality and creativity for images and promotions on its screen.

2.3 Start-up Summary

Our Start-up expenses are based on the costs involved with the build-out improvements of the planned space (an historic structure that needs upgrading), and for the marketing and operational expenses needed to get up and running for the first couple months until we get on our feet financially through programming, retail, and services income.

Construction Phase Strategic Alliances:

The City of Miami Beach itself is an important ally, as a supporter of the Cinematheque and co-presenter of MBIFF. Director of Tourism Michael Aller and Mayor David Dermer, as well as other city officials have been supportive and helpful in recognizing the value of this important project.

Espanola Way, Inc. owns the Matzanas Hotel which houses the proposed Cinematheque location. Linda Polansky, the main owner of the company, has been very helpful and understanding of our needs, and is very interested in helping to make the project a success for not only Espanola Way but for the cultural benefit of Miami Beach.

Architect Marty Hyman has been helping to strategize build-out, and has supplied the initial success and budget information. Interior Designer Patrick Kennedy has taken a personal interest in the community project, and will be offering his creative talents to make the design outstanding and unique.

Business Volunteers for the Arts has helped us incorporate and introduced us to Seth Finkel, Esq. who has remained our legal advisor pro bono for almost ten years. Seth is continuing to help on many levels. We plan to again utilize the BVA’s services to find help in other areas.

Construction services will be aided by a combination of local businesses in several areas such as cabinetry, ironwork, locksmith, plumbing, electrical, appliances, and fabrics. Committees are being formed to organize and fill the areas of need.

An example of areas of construction being sponsored is our agreement with Hotel Nash, as a major sponsor of the project. The Nash will be handling the air conditioning needs, among sponsoring later needs.

Design firms will be of great help, and have been, such as Suissa Design, who designed our logo and first brochure, and other design firms that have offered to help in the future.

Technical aspects are helped by CWS Productions, which has helped present the free 2nd Thursdays program, and which will help with Web design, technical presentation, and computer servicing.

The Espanola Way group marketing plan will be utilized, as well as our Greater Miami Convention and Visitor’s Bureau membership, to help network and create awareness.

An important alliance in development is with an internationally known electronics sponsor that will provide us with computers, projection equipment, and supplies.

Later alliances will develop in strategic categories for sponsorship of  the Cinematheque and MBIFF.

Art film theater business plan, organization summary chart image

Start-up Expenses
Legal $0
Start-up Office Costs (Software,etc) $250
Corporate Image (Stationery, Bcards, etc.) $250
Marketing Materials (Brochure/Packaging) $250
Website Start-up $250
Architectural Design $1,325
General Contractor $1,350
Electrical Connection $1,000
Plumbing/Electrical/AC Design $1,300
A/C including Hardware $0
Demolition $0
Construction Additions $500
Cabinetry, Finishing $1,000
Interiors (Fireplace, Frames, etc) $500
Drapery/Hardware $500
Flooring $500
Exteriors (Landscaping, Ironwork, Fountain, Stone) $0
Furniture (Theatre Chairs) $500
Locksmith $0
Appliances $500
Supply Set-up $500
Technical Installations $0
Computers/Phones $0
New Projection/Screen/Sound $500
Internet/Telephone Installation $350
Training $0
Telephone System $0
Insurance (Theft, Fire, Hurricane, Liability) $0
Rent (Last, Deposit) $5,483
Administration $0
Business Licence $500
Other $0
Total Start-up Expenses $17,308
Start-up Assets
Cash Required $16,692
Start-up Inventory $0
Other Current Assets $0
Long-term Assets $10,000
Total Assets $26,692
Total Requirements $44,000
Start-up Funding
Start-up Expenses to Fund $17,308
Start-up Assets to Fund $26,692
Total Funding Required $44,000
Non-cash Assets from Start-up $10,000
Cash Requirements from Start-up $16,692
Additional Cash Raised $0
Cash Balance on Starting Date $16,692
Total Assets $26,692
Liabilities and Capital
Current Borrowing $0
Long-term Liabilities $0
Accounts Payable (Outstanding Bills) $0
Other Current Liabilities (interest-free) $0
Total Liabilities $0
Planned Investment
Account Balance for Buildout $20,000
Founding Donor $1,000
Founding Donor $1,000
Founding Donor $1,000
Founding Donor $1,000
Founding Donor $5,000
Founding Donor $5,000
Founding Donor $2,500
Premiere Memberships (50) ($100 each) $5,000
Memberships (50) ($50 each) $2,500
Grants $0
Additional Investment Requirement $0
Total Planned Investment $44,000
Loss at Start-up (Start-up Expenses) ($17,308)
Total Capital $26,692
Total Capital and Liabilities $26,692
Total Funding $44,000

2.4 Fundraising Strategy

MBFS has begun an extensive fundraising campaign to provide initial start-up costs for the Cinematheque. Each area of need will be strategically matched with a potential donor, starting with construction costs and ending with festival grants.

1. Start-up Donor Drive.  Donor list development is the first step of the Start-Up Donor Drive and is already in motion, with development of a prospect list from our past and present supporters, and potential new ones, to match with the various levels of the Founding Circle and membership to assure a good match of donors with donor levels. Creation of special categories and targeted donations are being worked on for local businesses such as hotels, which will get a long term deal with tie-ins to participation in MBIFF. As members of the Founding Circle, they will be given special consideration when hotels are utilized for the larger festival. Specific In-Kind donation needs are being assembled as well, to match donors with needed items. Mailing of the Solicitation Letter  will be done in stages as the lease is negotiated, because the letter for donations should be specific about location, and the revenue required for build-out is required to finalize the lease. The first letters will be limited to donors who will directly affect build-out commencement.

(see below text for Founding Circle Invitational letter)

You are invited to help make a new cultural institution on South Beach!

The Miami Beach Cinematheque

the new home of

The Miami Beach Film Society

and headquarters for the upcoming

Miami Beach International Film Festival


After years of presenting films on the beach in creative ways, the not-for-profit organization MBFS is finally building a new home where films will be presented lounge-and-café-style on a regular basis, along with exhibitions of photography, graphics from the Cinematheque Archive, and related arts and cutting edge projections. The Cinematheque will not only be a cultural institution for the community, but home to one of the most important new film festivals on the international circuit, as well as a supplementary venue for many of the existing ones. There will be two “screening rooms”, one intimate gallery space with a starred ceiling like the cinemas of the 1920’s and 30’s, and one beautiful Mediterranean courtyard, so movie-goers will “under the stars, indoors or out”.

Become a member of “The Founding Circle” of the Cinematheque.

There are several levels of participation, so please take the time to see how you can become part of the most exciting community project in a long time. The Founding Circle Members will appear on a permanent bronze plaque prominently displayed at the Cinematheque.

Donations can be either cash or non-cash (in-kind), and are tax deductible.
The benefits at each level include those benefits of levels below them. A sample of he benefits of each level are as follows:

Founding Premiere Sponsor  $25,000 and over – A custom designed package of benefits

Founding Sponsor  $10,000 – Customized On-Screen Ad, 160 tickets to regular screenings

Founding Premiere Patron  $5,000 – Customized six month signage, 75 tickets to regular screenings

Founding Patron  $2,500 – Customized animated logo, Customized one month signage, One day/night use of facilities, 35 tickets to regular screenings

Founding Donor  $1,000 – Customized ad in programmes and newsletter, 20 tickets to regular screenings

Founding Friend  $500 – Listings in programmes and newsletter, 10 tickets to regular screenings

Premiere Member  $100 – Special offers from sponsors, MBFS T-shirt, membership benefits

Member  $50 – 12.5% discount on tickets and subscription to MBCINEMA Newsletter (Students and Seniors receive 25% discount)

Membership commences when Cinematheque opens

Call 305 67-FILMS (673-4567) FOR MORE INFORMATION and details
We are looking forward to hearing from you soon.


Eventually a broader request for donations will be mailed to continue fundraising and open the Cinematheque. The Founding Circle Sponsors, Patrons, and Donors will achieve levels by either in-kind or cash donations. In-kind for build out, such as labor fee waivers and donated equipment will be as valuable because it will be for given for items we would otherwise need to purchase.

2. Grant development is already in motion also, with the hiring of a professional Grants Manager, Pola Reydburd, who is on board as one of the first MBFS paid positions. Ms. Reydburd is well known as one of the community’s best grants professionals, and we anticipate success with her services. She will interface with the Director and Grant Chair of the Board of Directors.

3. Fundraising events such as our annual Oscar Night®, the only officially licensed party in Miami of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, produced by TMG Productions, will continue to bring revenue for the Cinematheque. A variety of smaller events will also be developed to create revenue, such as movie premieres, and an upcoming fundraiser “Artists for the Art of Cinema”.

4. Fundraising professionals will be hired from many areas that will help with an international selection of sponsorship revenue and in-kind donations.

5. Sponsorship agreements will provide exclusive sponsorship in a specific industry (such as airline alliances or electronics or automotive industry). This will create on on-going relationship with sponsors and develop ties that create bonds and pride in sponsorship.

6. Research of other film festivals and cinematheque operations helps to form a fundraising target market, and provides valuable information. The Founder has attended the Cannes Film Festival for fifteen years, bringing back information and contacts for many activities.