On Friday, September 15, our off-site offices on 9th Street sustained serious damage from an electrical fire. All staff made it out of the building safely and are unharmed. Last month, we were able to get back into the building to collect essential items, but have been instructed not to re-enter the building. The damage in the space is severe. After leasing that space for 16 years, we housed a significant amount of equipment and materials in our offices that were lost to the fire.
About a month from the office fire we are getting a handle on the loss and beginning to build a plan moving forward. Based on inventory, we are expecting about $75,000 in loss, including projection equipment, computers, furniture, and supplies. While we have insurance to help offset hard costs, that process, as most know, is tedious and protracted - and at a time when we are heading into our busiest festival season. The building is, at this time, unusable, and we are in search of a temporary home for our year-round staff that can also be a base for the seasonal Fest team members who will be working hard in January & February and will need a place to congregate.
Our next step is working through immediate needs in hopes that we can get most items replaced or donated quickly.
We’re starting a small fundraiser to help offset these urgent costs. We’ve set a goal of $10,000 and we’re hoping our community can help us get back on our feet so we continue to do what we do best: connect cinema and community. We love being intricately woven into the Columbia arts scene, and we’re deeply touched by the folks who have helped us get here, and the folks that will help us stay here
We want to reassure our communities that, while this is a massive setback, the 2024 festival will proceed as planned. In this moment of taking stock, preserving the Fest feels vital.