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Mark Jenkins argues that “many observers of the local cinema scene” are skeptical about the AFI Silver’s success because it is in Silver Spring (“Off With the Show,” 10/8). He quotes National Gallery of Art film programmer Peggy Parsons as saying that the two-block walk from the Metro to the Silver is not “exciting.”
The views of these “observers” —whoever they might be—are incorrect. Are there really a large mass of D.C. film lovers who are so sensitive, so refined, and so full of themselves that they view a two-block walk in Maryland as a traumatic plunge into the existential nightmare that is the American suburb? I don’t think so.
The AFI Silver’s problem is that filmgoers under age 50 have to be persuaded that spending $8.50 to see a random old movie is a good idea. Turner Classic Movies and Netflix offer films of increasingly good quality at far lower cost. Sure, the AFI Silver is a great place to see films; I enjoyed seeing Code 46 there, as did the other nine people who saw it with me in the Silver’s capacious auditorium. But the Silver has gambled that there is a substantial audience of affluent film lovers who will routinely pay hefty sums to see old films. It’s far from clear that the audience the Silver seeks in fact exists.
Silver Spring, Md.