Statement regarding the postponement of the Hamilton Jewish Film Festival

In December 2023, The Playhouse Cinema was approached by the Hamilton Jewish Federation in search of a venue rental for their annual Jewish Film Festival to be held in April 2024. In the months that followed, we enjoyed a positive working relationship with the Jewish Film Festival programmers, as preparations were made for the venue rental.

After receiving numerous security and safety related emails, phone calls, and social media messages, the Playhouse Cinema reached a difficult decision to postpone the Hamilton Jewish Federation's venue rental. On Saturday, March 16, our decision to postpone this venue rental was reached amid security and safety concerns at this particularly sensitive time.

The Playhouse Cinema's mission is to be a welcome home to a variety of cultural groups, serving the Hamilton area through our film programming, and in offering our venue for rentals.

We apologize to festival ticket holders that this postponement was required.

Published March 19.

Followup statement 

As individuals and an organization, we denounce anti-Semitism in all its forms. As a small business that works closely with our community, we have a long history of working with Jewish groups, showing films by Jewish filmmakers and showing films sympathetic to Jewish and humanitarian causes, like remembering the Holocaust.

Our decision to postpone --not cancel-- the theatre rental while tensions are high in the midst of the events in Gaza was not an anti-Semitic act. It was based on a legitimate concern for the safety and security of our staff and customers.

Published March 21.

Clarification regarding our original statement on the postponement of the Hamilton Jewish Film Festival

The postponement of this theatre rental was due to high tensions surrounding current events in Gaza, and our own security concerns as a small business that serves the public.

To be clear: at no time did we state that we had received threats of violence related to hosting the Hamilton Jewish Film Festival, nor did we at any time receive any threats of violence prior to our decision to postpone it.

As we originally stated, we received safety and security-concerned messages that we, as a community-based business and employer, are obligated to take seriously, regardless of their nature. We repeat, these messages were not threats of violence.

We are a small, family-owned business that operates an independent movie theatre in the neighbourhood where we live. We meant no harm in our decision to postpone this rental.

Published March 24.

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