Save the Oldest Theater in the United States

Target: Chris Statton, Executive Director at the Roxie

Goal: Support the transition to non-profit status of the United States’ oldest cinema

The Roxie is the oldest continuously running cinema in the United States. It is the second oldest in the world. It has been at its location in San Francisco’s Mission District since it opened in 1909, showing movies 364 days a year.

Through numerous owners and many renovations, the Roxie has remained true to its mission to promote and support truly independent film and filmmakers. They pride themselves on showing films and other programming that would likely never be presented at more mainstream theaters.

From showing silent films when it first opened, to the innovative outlet it has created for filmmakers today, the Roxie has garnered a reputation for encouraging experimental filmmakers and providing audiences with challenging films. It is best known for hosting a multitude of popular film festivals. One of its most popular is DocFest, an annual festival devoted to documentary cinema.

After some financial difficulties in 2009, the Roxie has been attempting to transition into non-profit status. Becoming non-profit allows them access to certain grants from the government, which would prevent it from being forced to close. They are currently in the final phase of the transition and support is crucial.

In an attempt to rally supporters, the Roxie Theater started a campaign that will feature short films by filmmakers who have been positively affected by the support of the Roxie; it has launched the careers of numerous filmmakers throughout the years. These short films will represent the filmmakers’ relationship with the legendary theater.

Theaters like this are few and far between and San Francisco is lucky to have one right in their midst. Support the Roxie’s transition to non-profit so they can continue doing what they do best, encouraging and challenging the arts and artists. Sign the petition to show how important classic theaters like the Roxie are, and advocate their transition to non-profit.


Dear Mr. Statton,

San Francisco is home to the nation’s oldest theater. Throughout the years, the Roxie Theater has gone through many changes, but has always remained true to the arts. Launching the careers of numerous filmmakers, housing some of the most popular film festivals and always challenging movie-goers is hard to come by these days.

The memories and nostalgia that the Roxie holds for both San Franciscans and the United States as a whole has a special place in history. Not many theaters like this exist anymore and those remaining must be preserved.

Please do everything you can to make sure the Roxie’s transition to a non-profit is both smooth and successful. No one wants to see a historic landmark shut down because of financial reasons. Converting to a non-profit will allow many generations to enjoy the thought-provoking and original art produced at and for the Roxie.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Thomas Hawk via Flickr

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