UPDATED: Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino's management is allegedly ruining one of the most beloved institutions in Los Angeles: the second-run New Beverly Cinema, in operation since 1978 and perhaps the best revival theater in Los Angeles. In early September, Tarantino announced that he'd be taking over the theater and programming it with films from his personal 35mm and 16mm film collection (he's owned the building since 2010, but long-time operator Michael Torgan ran the theater until last month). Film geeks were psyched: Tarantino pledged to keep the theater film-only, a real rarity in a world that has switched almost entirely to digital projection. But Julia Marchese, a devoted (and highly visible) New Bev employee since 2006, writes in a blog post today that she's been forced out of her job and is worried about the changes Tarantino's new staff is making: "It absolutely breaks my heart to say this, but the New Beverly Cinema that have I loved and stood so ardently for – and that I believe so many of you out there love and stand up for – is gone." Marchese writes that she was notified about Tarantino's takeover in July and told she'd be promoted to co-manager (after making $14k in 2013—because she really fucking loved the New Bev—she was excited to make a salary with benefits). But she was forbidden from posting about the theater on social media and eventually asked to sign a confidentiality agreement "which would forbid me to say anything at all, on any public forum, about my job, the New Beverly Cinema or Quentin Tarantino." She refused. On top of that, Tarantino's management added cameras "absolutely everywhere," including in the manager's office and the projection booth.
Marchese says she was otherwise "frozen out" by the new management; none of her emails were returned, even when she asked why it's so difficult to find New Bev showtimes online these days (seriously: why?). This week, Tarantino's assistant and the New Bev's new general manager told she was being "demoted to snack bar, with no shifts guaranteed." The word on Twitter is that Marchese was an essential part of what made the New Beverly special—she was obviously dedicated to the theater and to the exhibition of movies on film—and it's a bad sign that Tarantino's people don't want her around. Marchese's last words to her old boss were pretty chilling for anyone who cares about the New Bev: "You're going to turn this place into a fucking multiplex, and it's a goddam drag."
Marchese made a film called Out of Print, about second-run theaters and 35mm exhibition, but mostly about the New Beverly, which she was planning to premiere at the New Bev, on film, in January. Instead, she's made it available for free on Vimeo today.
UPDATE 12:41 pm: Marchese emphasizes on Twitter that "I NEVER said anything was Quentin's fault and I don't believe it is." Her post says she believes Tarantino has "his heart in the right place ... However, I think he has people working for him that aren't serving his best interests.
· I Will Not Be Censored. [juliamarchese]
· The New Beverly Cinema is Becoming Quentin Tarantino's Public 35mm Screening Room [Curbed LA]