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Dark days ahead at the Oak Street?

Posted at 6:30 PM on January 11, 2006 by Euan Kerr

There are a lot of phone calls and e-mails flying today about the future of the Oak Street Cinema in Minneapolis. There are no movies booked there after Saturday, and staff say they have been unable to get any answers about what is happening from Minnesota Film Arts board members. MFA runs both the Oak Street and the Bell Auditorium on the U of M campus.

After scheduling a news conference for Friday afternoon, the staff has now decided to call an extraordinary meeting of MFA members before Saturday's 7.20 screening of "Citizen Kane" instead. The staffer I talked with said he hopes board representatives will show up to talk about the future at that time.

MFA apparently took some serious financial hits under the leadership of Executive Director Jamie Hook. He left suddenly last year after admitting he had forgotten to send in an important grant application which would have provided a substantial portion of the MFA budget.

The MFA emerged a few years back after the merger of the non-profit Oak Street Cinema with the U Film Society. It runs the Oak Street as a repertory theater and the Bell Auditorium as a documentary film venue. The MFA runs the St Paul International Film Festival.

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