Filmmaker Plots New Arthouse Cinema on UWS

  Last modified on February 12th, 2023

New Plaza Cinema Two Year Anniversary

If you’re like film professional and Upper West Sider Ira Deutchman, you may remember Lincoln Plaza Theater fondly for its selection of foreign and independent films. Unlike Deutchman, however, you may not have a plan for how to bring these cinematic offerings back uptown.


In an article penned on his website in early February, Deutchman lays out his plans to open a five screen cinema somewhere between 72nd and 86th street. While the exact layout may shift depending on what space is available, the overall intention remains the same: multiple screens, a broad variety of programming, and a public cafe or lounge area where the community can connect.

Per Deutchman’s article, as well as a follow-up phone call, there is a clear interest in film programming on the Upper West Side that goes beyond mainstream cinema offerings. The success of New Plaza Cinema’s first open-ended run, currently housed at the Macaulay Honors College, attests to this – as did the large outcry when Lincoln Plaza Theater first announced they would be closing.

And it’s not just about the movies. Beyond the importance of “see[ing] cinema in the environment it was intended to be [seen],” Deutchman notes a “retail apocalypse” along Broadway – where storefronts have been standing empty since the start of the pandemic. And with large chains like Best Buy, Marshalls, and Bed Bath & Beyond permanently closing their doors, this trend only seems to be ongoing. A large cinema, Deutchman suggests, may help revitalize the neighborhood; serving as a magnet to draw people to local businesses.

New Plaza Cinema has been presenting independent films uptown since 2018, and there are plans in the works for the Metro Theater between 99th and 100th to be brought back to life as a film-and-food project. However, Deutchman believes there is enough interest and need to create more opportunities for folks uptown to see the kind of films you can only find below 14th – and he wants to do it now. As a film distributor, marketer, producer, professor, and resident of the Upper West Side, he may be just the person to get the job done.


So what’s next? Deutchman has already formed an advisory board and brought on Adeline Monzier as co-founder. Together, they have “developed the business concept and fleshed out a lot of the details,” as well as starting to plan for funding. Right now, there’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation (which Deutchman humorously notes feels similar to film financing itself); without a space, it’s hard to secure funding, and without funding, it’s hard to secure a space. And for the time being, those two things – funding and space – are what Deutchman is looking for. In particular, he notes that a new cinema project would not necessarily need to be above ground. Therefore, if any savvy Upper West Siders are aware of a large and empty space that isn’t visible from the street, they can certainly let him know. And if you’re simply looking to stay up to date on this project and future plans, you can subscribe to his newsletter through his website, here.


Sharing is caring!

Latest Comments

  1. Sidney Owl February 11, 2023
    • Baker February 12, 2023
  2. TravelgalNYC February 12, 2023
    • Shawn February 12, 2023
  3. Richard Friedman February 12, 2023
    • Shawn February 13, 2023
  4. Shawn February 12, 2023
  5. Lifelong Upper Westsider February 12, 2023
    • Shawn February 13, 2023
  6. Mary February 13, 2023
    • Shawn February 13, 2023

Leave a Reply