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Promoting Participation in the Moraga Community

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Rheem Theatre to temporarily become a single screen theatre!

Beginning on Jan.18, the classic four-screen movie palace Rheem Theatre located at 350 Park Street in Moraga will have to operate as a single screen theatre, due to ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) issues. The staircase lift is no longer repairable, which means that the three upstairs theaters will have be closed. Derek Zermrak, theatre operator stated, "We have spent over $10,000 to keep the lift operating since re-opening the theatre on June 25th 2010 and we can no longer take on the liability since the lift is beyond repair. We have received another letter this week from a Moraga resident demanding the repair of the lift and stating discrimination to the senior residents of Moraga." The letter is on display in the theatre lobby. Zemrak said that the safety and comfort of our patrons has always been the major concern for the Rheem Theatre. It is time to limit the liability for both the theater patrons, Zemrak Pirkle Productions, LLC, California Independent Film Festival Association and the property owner.

This closure comes at a time when the theatre is thriving with a box office increase of revenue of over 7% from 2011; and a 16% increase in attendance as well as a 23% increase in attendance at the November California Independent Film Festival. Also, the Rheem Theatre has a partnership with the Town of Moraga to use the main theatre as a basketball venue for the park and recreation's toddler program as well as a partnership with Saint Mary's College Special Programs. It has truly become a community theater.

What does the closure of the three upstairs theatres potentially mean?

1) Loss of sales tax revenue to the Town of Moraga

2) Loss of employment for current theatre staff

3) Loss of employment hours for the remaining employees

4) Loss of VPM (Virtual Print Fees) from the film studios

digital rebate program

5) Loss of some special programs such at the monthly Moraga Mover's Classic Film Series, the Queen's Slumber Party (B Movie Night) and Green Rheem Nights

6) Limiting the movie choices in Moraga to only one movie

7) Reducing the movie choices for the Lamorinda Community

to 4 films (3 screens in Orinda)

8) Reducing the California Independent Film Festival's venue from two screens in Moraga to one

9) Greatly reducing attendance in the Rheem Shopping Center along with a likely loss of patronage to the local restaurants

We hope a quick resolution can be reached, states Zemrak. A Feb. 24 Oscar Party is planned as a fundraiser for the lift. The evening will include red carpet arrivals with photo ops, live music, dancing, Oscar projected on the big screen, door prizes and dinner provided by Shelby's Restaurant of Orinda. Tickets are $100 each and the goal is to sell 250 tickets.

Shelby's Restaurant will also be holding a "Elevator Lift" Fundraiser on Friday January 18th for the Rheem Theatre. On January 18th, 15% of the daily sales at Shelby's will be donated to the elevator fund. We want to thank Shelby's for supporting Lamorinda Theatres. We encourage everyone to experience the quality food at Shelby's on January 18th to help to cause. Please let Shelby's know we appreciate their community support.