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Our Mission & History

We educate, advocate, and inform about –and through– cinema. We promote diversity through film exhibitions and creations. We foster film talent and cultivate film appreciation and participation. Our programs and venues ensure that the potent ideas and voices of the film are accessible to everyone in our community.

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Our Mission

The primary purpose of our work is to create immersive, transformative, and engaged arts experiences that are accessible to everyone in our community. We bring artists, their films, and audiences together to experience film the way it was meant to be seen, in a darkened room, on a big screen, in the company of friends, family, and neighbors.
At SLFS we don’t simply show movies, we consciously create the optimal environment in which everyone who walks through our doors can gain more understanding, more empathy, or more curiosity.

Who is SLFS?

Mission-focused, non-profit and community-driven, SLFS is as unique as the films it shows. We are a proud non-profit organization with an active board, a creative and hard-working staff, and a shared passion for cinema.
No other film organization in our state offers the diversity of programming, including locally produced international film tours, a seasonal outdoor cinema, access to online films through its exclusive @home platform, and numerous special events and community collaborations. Consistently curating important and timely films, nurturing filmmakers, and producing relevant cultural and educational programs, SLFS inspires people to gather, to find common ground, and to listen to and learn from each other.

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Why do we insist that the tradition of film going is relevant today?

For 20 years SLFS has been creating cinematic moments for our community. Cinematic moments are the experiences our audiences have every day at our venues. They can be moments of insight, when you suddenly understand more about a different place, culture, or world view. Cinematic moments can bring about the feeling of empathy, when your heart, even for a second, opens to what someone else is going through, and you stand in their shoes, remembering that we all have more in common than we have differences. 

Our audiences tell us again and again that they experience life-changing cinematic moments every day at our theaters. They tell us that they leave our cinemas with a deeper understanding, and insight into differing points of view, lifestyles, cultures, and landscapes. Their lives have been opened, widened, and changed for the better. By sharing a cinematic moment with others in their community they feel a little less isolated, a little bit more like they belong. As the late Roger Ebert said, “The purpose of civilization and growth is to be able to reach out and empathize a little bit with other people…and the movies are like a machine that generates empathy. They let you understand a little bit more about different hopes, aspirations, dreams and fears.”

Diversity at SLFS

Our mission as the premiere film establishment of our state is to promote diversity of film exhibition and creation, and to educate, advocate, and inform about and through cinema.