Omaha, Nebraska isn’t widely known as a cultural center, but one organization is looking to change that. Film Streams, headquartered in Omaha, is a nonprofit organization devoted to the presentation and discussion of film as an art form. Film Streams is currently is based out of the Ruth Sokolov Theater in downtown Omaha and is currently in the process of renovating the Dundee Theater, Omaha’s only surviving single-screen, neighborhood theater – an expansion that will allow Film Streams to engage more folks in their mission.
Film Streams looks to engage their community in the appreciation and discussion of film using a variety of different programs from first run films to director retrospectives, community discussions to student days. Their first run premieres have featured The Descendants in 2011, and a very topical premiere of Alexander Payne’s film, Nebraska. The Nebraska premiere coincided with both the New York and Los Angeles premieres, giving the people of Omaha a real first look at the film. Their student outreach takes the form of daytime student screenings and a free student movie night on the first Monday of each month. These student-centric programs look to cultivate a new generation of film lovers while interweaving film into the curriculum.
One of Film Streams’ more interesting initiatives is a Local Filmmaker’s Showcase. The showcase shines a spotlight on professional and student filmmakers from the Midwest and takes place in October. Afterwards, it tours cinemas around Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota. Filmmakers receive a percentage of the box office take from the week-long run at the Ruth Sokolov Theater, presenting a great opportunity for up-and-comers from the Midwest to get their work in front of large audiences while receiving support from their local communities.
Film Streams occupies an important space in the art world of the Midwest. Just as museums, concert halls, and galleries provide spaces for people to come together and enjoy and share their art Film Streams looks to occupy this space for film. It brings together diverse community actors around belief that film is art form that deserves to be discussed, experienced and enjoyed by a large audience.