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Hamptons Life

Apr 15, 2019 5:09 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Sag Harbor Cinema Arts Center To Screen Steinbeck's 'Grapes Of Wrath'

Apr 16, 2019 10:07 AM

Since 2016, the 12 member-institutions of the Sag Harbor Cultural District have sponsored a weekend of events in early May. The groups act in concert to highlight the broad range of cultural and artistic resources in Sag Harbor.

This year, the event’s theme is “Sag Harbor: The Stories That Shape Us,” and from May 3 to 5, various exhibits and happenings will center on the notion of stories and storytellers in terms of literature, art, music, theater, and history. Among them will be a screening of the Oscar-winning film, “The Grapes of Wrath” hosted by the Sag Harbor Cinema Arts Center in the Pierson High School auditorium on Saturday, May 4, at 6:30 p.m.

Directed by John Ford, the 1940 drama was based on the 1939 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by John Steinbeck, who lived in Sag Harbor from the mid-1950s until his death in 1968.

The film tells the story of the Joad family of Oklahoma, who, after losing their farm during the Great Depression in the 1930s, set out on the road to become migrant workers. The film details their difficult and heartbreaking journey west as they travel to California in search of work and opportunities. It is widely considered to be one of the greatest American films of all time. In 1989, it was one of the first 25 films to be selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

The screening is free and open to the public.

In December 2016, the Sag Harbor Cinema was nearly destroyed by a fire. The following year, the Sag Harbor Cinema Arts Center was created with a mission to rebuild and reopen the cinema.

While the Sag Harbor Cinema Arts Center is currently relying on local venues, like Pierson High School, to show films, the rebuilding of the Main Street cinema is progressing quickly. Phases 1 and 2 of the effort, which focused on raising money to purchase the property and begin basic construction, are complete. Now the organization is moving into the next and final phase 3 of the project and are looking to raise $3 to $4 million to make it happen.

According to a release sent out by the Sag Harbor Cinema Arts Center last week, the money will be used to expand the original plans for the third floor of the building to include an office and a workspace that can serve as a Virtual Reality studio and classroom. This phase will also focus on the purchase of film equipment, theater seating, lighting fixtures, concession stand and ticketing machinery, the paying of designers and consultants and salaries for new staff, among other items.

If funds are raised quickly, noted the release, the cinema could reopen as early as this fall. For more information on the effort, visit sagharborcinema.org.

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