Back to All Events

Secret Cinema: 25 Years Old, Still (Thankfully) Hasn't Graduated Film School

  • The Maas Building 1325 North Randolph Street Philadelphia, PA, 19122 United States (map)
A Secret Cinema flyer from way back in 1992.

A Secret Cinema flyer from way back in 1992.

It would be hard to overstate the difference between type of arts city Philadelphia was 25 years ago, when the Secret Cinema first began showing weird, lost and found films upstairs at the Khyber Pass, and the type of art city it is now. In some ways, yes, we can pull the old fart move and say it was better then, and in some ways, that’s true; but in a much larger, much truer sense, we can also say that a thousand flowers have bloomed from this type of local DIY seed. The line that runs from then on up until now is that, gloriously, Philly is still the kind of place where, if you’re artsy/music-y/film-y, all you really need is moxie to hang your own shingle.

That’s what SC founder Jay Schwartz did, way back in 1992. Since then, he’s screened an untold number of weird educational films, lost anthropological documents, thrifted home movies, trashy b-movies, forgotten masterpieces and so on. And he’s done it in DIY spaces, colleges, music venues, community centers and lots of other types of places. That’s quite a feat for a one-man band: Through it all, Schwartz has been curator, tech support, host and PR operations for several classes of film that have few champions, all while presenting the most entertaining among them. At this special screening that celebrates that truly impressive run, expect the unexpected and raise a glass: At 25 years old, Secret Cinema could have gone to and graduated film school by now — but importantly, it has not.

More info/Facebook invite here.