Patrons of Quezon City-based microcinema place Cinema Centenario expressed their gratitude for allowing them to watch quality films that wouldn’t have found its way in mainstream theaters after the place had decided to shut down.
The well-loved spot in Maginhawa Street announced on their Facebook page that it will close its physical operations, citing the sustainability of business as a major factor in light of the new normal brought by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Hindi ito naging madali para sa amin. Malaking factor sa aming desisyon ang safety and sustainability, kahit payagan pang magbukas ang mga sinehan, it won’t work sa aming kinalalagyan,” its post reads.
“Hindi biro ang safety concerns na hatid ng pandemyang ito kaya umabot kami sa desisyong ito. Manatili po sana tayong ligtas at healthy sa lahat ng pagkataon,” it added.
The microcinema also recounted a heartwarming story of an elderly couple who visited the place when it was still in its early days of operation in 2017.
The couple watched “Apocalypse Child,” an independent movie about a surfer who might be an illegitimate child of American film director Francis Ford Coppola.
“Natapos ang pelikula, hinanap ko sila. Nang makita ko ang couple, tuwang tuwa sila. ‘May ganito palang pelikula? Ang ganda-ganda. Babalik kami dito, malapit lang naman kami. Salamat dito sa ginawa niyo, marami pala tayong magagandang pelikula,'” the post of the microcinema reads.
“Hindi ako nakapagsalita agad. Kinilig ako at the same time sobrang saya lang sa pakiramdam. Nagpasalamat ako at sinabing ‘Welcome home po to Cinema Centenario,'” it continued.
Kumusta? Mayroon po kaming kuwento.Sa unang linggo ng aming operation, may random old couple na nagpunta sa…
Since then, the microcinema has seen many lovers of films visit its sanctuary tucked in the many cafés and shopping destinations on the street famous for its food haunts and art scene.
Its location is also near the vicinity of two top universities in Quezon City, making it an ideal hangout place for student film lovers on a budget.
Its closure has broken the hearts of patrons who have considered the microcinema their “home” away from home due to its curation of quality films, local and foreign, that can be seen at affordable fees.
“This was my happy place. Thank you for showing us so many great Filipino films,” a Twitter user said as she tagged the account of the microcinema with a heart and crying face emoji.
“Cinema Centenario was really one of the places that made my stay in Maginhawa really worth remembering. Andami kong pelikula (na hindi ko usually alam saan mapapanuod) na napanuod dahil inilapit nila ang mga ito sa akin,” recalled another online user.
“When I think about my college days, Cinema Centenario will always be one of my better memories. As a Krus Na Ligas boy, dito ako madalas tumakas when the loneliness at home gets too overwhelming. Maraming salamat sa comfort,” another Twitter user said.
“Higit sa paalam, salamat. Babaunin ko ang pag-asa sa hanggang sa muli,” wrote another patron in response to the microcinema’s post.
Writer-artist Juan Miguel Severo likewise expressed his gratitude to “everything” that the venue has been for him.
“I love you, Cinema Centenario. Thanks for everything,” he wrote on his Twitter account.
The microcinema, apart from announcing its physical closure, invited its patrons to support its succeeding endeavors as it moves forward following the decision.
“At sana, manatili rin ang inyong suporta sa kung saan man kami magpunta. Uncertain pa kung ano ang hatid ng ‘New Normal.’ But we will Moov forward sa patuloy na pagdevelop ng Pelikulang Pilipino even beyond its centennial celebration,” it said.
“Moov” is the microcinema’s digital venue for film screenings.
Cinema Centenario opened its doors to film lovers in 2017 through the initiative of filmmaker Hector Barretto Calma, who acts as its co-founder.
He collaborated with nine other co-owners from different backgrounds of film, production and business who shared his deep love for local cinema and then opened the place with the hopes to share their passion to like-minded audiences and industry folks.
“As much as possible, we want to showcase local films. As a filmmaker, alam ko ‘yong feeling na may pelikula ka tapos hindi mo siya maipalabas sa audience na gusto mo kasi wala kang venue,” Hector shared in an interview with Spot.ph before.
“Ito ‘yong mga pelikula na hindi nabibigyan ng chance sa mga malalaking cinema or nabigyan nga ng chance pero tatanggalin kaagad sa first day,” he added.
The microcinema’s lineup of films has ranged from new and award-winning indie releases to documentaries and hard-to-find titles from small production companies to restored Filipino classics that patrons can watch at affordable prices.