Prague cinema launches adopt-a-seat programme to raise funds


    The managers of one of Prague's oldest cinemas are using a unique strategy to help foot the costs of renovation. Kino Svetozor (www.kinosvetozor), which opened in 1918, has launched an "adopt-a-seat" programe to help prepare it for its 90th anniversary next year.

    Cinema officials say they hope the adoption program for the art house located in the center of Prague will cover up to 20% of the costs of renovating the cinema. Cinemagoers can adopt one seat as an individual for five years for 5,000 crowns (€180) or couples can adopt special double seats for 7,000 crowns (€250). Companies pay 20,000 crowns (€720) per seat.

    The adopt-a-seat program was launched Sept. 1 and so far, 58 of the 356 seats have been spoken for. (A seating chart can be found at www.kinosvetozor.cz/en/adopce/.)

    While Kino Svetozor started as a cinema, for several decades it served as a cabaret. It returned to its original purpose in 1957 when it was rebuilt into a panoramatic cinema. In 1968 the famous Kino automat, first introduced at the Montreal Expo in 1967, was moved to Svetozor for a time.

    Its weekly schedule usually includes the introduction of one new art film, one evening for documentary films and one night for the presentation of minor and experimental genres such as animation, video art, net art, commercials, video clips or short films.

    The first permanent movie theatre in Prague opened 100 years ago this month. It was called Ponerp's cinema, named after the magician who established it on Karlova Street near the famous Charles Bridge. The occasion was celebrated last weekend at Lucerna, which now has the distinction of being the oldest continuous cinema in Prague. Among the speakers were renowned Czech director Zdenĕk Svĕrák and Slovak actor Kvĕta Fialová.