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Still reeling from the dual onslaught of streaming and the COVID-19 pandemic, but buoyed by gargantuan theatrical hits like Barbie, Oppenheimer, and Dune: Part Two, theatrical exhibition today finds itself in a state of flux. Even as established multiplex chains face declining revenues and in some cases bankruptcy, new forms of theatrical moviegoing flourish in major markets like Southern California. From luxury cinemas providing elevated food and beverage service to historic theaters undergoing refurbishment and revival, novel models of theatrical exhibition are emerging out of a long moment of crisis, staking out new futures for an embattled industry.

In this special panel discussion event, leading voices from industry and academia will consider the contemporary landscape and possible futures of theatrical moviegoing and exhibition, both here in California and beyond. Featuring filmmakers and part-owners of the newly acquired Westwood Village Theater Jason Reitman (Thank You for Smoking, Juno, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire) and Brad Silberling (Dash & Lily, City of Angels), Executive Director of the Vidiots Foundation Maggie Mackay, LAist journalist Victoria Alejandro, and exhibition historian Ross Melnick (Film & Media Studies, UCSB).

This event is presented with promotional support from LAist Studios. LAist is an independent, nonprofit newsroom, which is home to LA’s largest NPR station (broadcasting at 89.3 FM) and unique podcasts like How to LA. How to LA helps curious Angelenos connect with others, discover the new, navigate the confusing, and even drive some change along the way. Host Brian De Los Santos brings you stories about LA, for LA, by LA — with your help.

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This event is sponsored by the Carsey-Wolf Center with promotional support from LAist Studios

Jason Reitman (filmmaker)

Jason Reitman is an Academy Award® nominated filmmaker who is currently directing SNL 1975, a film he co-wrote with Gil Kenan. In 2021, Reitman directed and co-wrote Ghostbusters: Afterlife with Kenan and in 2023, produced and co-wrote its sequel, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire. Most recently, Reitman assembled 35 prominent film directors to save the Westwood Village Theater.

Brad Silberling (filmmaker)

Director/writer/producer Brad Silberling’s work has traversed feature films and television throughout his career. His most recent film is the suspense drama An Ordinary Man starring Ben Kingsley. Along with Reitman, he is among the 35 prominent directors who recently purchased the Westwood Village Theater. He is a graduate of the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television and holds a bachelor’s degree in English from UC Santa Barbara.

Maggie Mackay (Vidiots)

Maggie Mackay has served as Executive Director of the Vidiots Foundation since 2016. She served for thirteen years as Senior Programmer of the Los Angeles Film Festival and Director of Nominations for the Independent Spirit Awards. She has held positions at Sundance Institute, AFI Fest, and Aspen Film, among other arts organizations, advocating for filmmakers and connecting audiences to cinema.

Victoria Alejandro (LAist)

Victoria Alejandro is a podcast producer at LAist Studios working in all things arts, culture, and Los Angeles. She received her Masters in journalism from USC Annenberg and immediately dove head first into the audio production world. You can currently find her reporting out local stories on How To LA or diving into film history on the new season of The Academy Museum Podcast.

Ross Melnick (Film & Media Studies, UCSB)

Ross Melnick specializes in US and global film exhibition, media industry studies, film and media history, archival theory and practice, silent cinema, and moving image journalism. He is the author of American Showman: Samuel ‘Roxy’ Rothafel and the Birth of the Entertainment Industry, 1908-1935 (Columbia University Press, 2012).

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