Movie W volunteers make an urgent call for support in an open letter to Wageningen UR.
The letter is a last attempt to reach out to the Executive Board of Wageningen UR. If the board does not come to the rescue, the volunteers fear that it would be over for Movie W on 1 January. Movie W would have to move out of the LA13 building then. The letter, written in English, is reproduced in full here.
Meanwhile, the Movie W management has drawn up a new business plan. An earlier plan had been rejected by the Executive Board. That entailed Wageningen UR contributing a total of two hundred thousand euros in the next ten years to keep Movie W going. The Board finds this amount too high; it will not consider anything more than a much lower one-off contribution of 40,000 euros.
The new plan takes into account all the major conditions stipulated by Wageningen UR, says Movie W spokesperson Huib de Vriend. As such, the entrance fee raise would be implemented sooner and the prices of drinks would be increased. Movie W is also counting on being charged less rent by the future landlord, 't Venster. In addition, parties other than Wageningen UR would co-finance Movie W. One such party has already agreed, according to De Vriend.
Talks with the Executive Board will resume soon.
The open letter:
Movie W forced to close for good?
An open call to the EB of the WUR and to the academic and general society of Wageningen.
Movie W is the arthouse cinema in Wageningen which actively contributes to the cultural program of the Studium Generale of the Wageningen University. It is entirely run by a group of volunteers, who provide a high standard cinematic program, often combined with extras such as lectures, already for more than 35 years. All these years Movie W has received support from the university, mainly accommodation. Earlier this year, the current Executive Board of the university has decided to stop this support. Despite talks between Movie W and the university, it still is possible that Movie W will be forced to close its doors at the end of December. For good. Given this situation, we, the volunteers, urge the university to prevent this to happen.
You might wonder, what is the value of Movie W? It is a cultural space in Wageningen that, on a permanent and regular basis, screens unique documentaries and films, frequently combined with lectures and discussions. The screenings performed at Movie W are an inspiration for curious students and scientists, who want to look beyond their own specific field of research, to be challenged to think out of the box, to reflect and to discuss topics related to science, society, politics or arts. For over 35 years, Movie W provides this by screening films and documentaries from all over the world, often connected to relevant debates in society and science. All made possible, free of charge, by an enthusiast group of volunteers who share a passion for independent cinema. Wageningen deserves a place like Movie W: a perfect spot to connect science with society, one of the best places to meet, between the university and the city.
Since we are told in March this year to find another accommodation, we have been working hard on a plan of action. Among several relocation options, Heerenstraattheater and 't Venster have been thoroughly researched. In the resulting analysis, 't Venster provides the best conditions to guarantee a sustainable continuation of Movie W. There we could continue screening 7 times a week with an optional lecture, as we already do. The Board of Movie W has written, and rewritten, a solid business plan for the coming years and presented this to the Executive Board of the university. Negotiations on the continuation of Movie W, based on the latest business plan, will be renewed soon.
As volunteers of Movie W, we are keen to provide with a healthy, inspiring and long lasting intellectual environment in Wageningen for many more years. We urge the Executive Board of the university to find the means to guarantee the continuation of Movie W. We are convinced this will be possible and we will be delighted to see this happening very soon.
Yours sincerely, the volunteers of Movie W