Upstate Films History

Upstate Films, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, began screening world-class films in its Rhinebeck theater on a daily basis in May 1972. Over the course of its first 51 years, Upstate Films has screened 6,000+ different titles to an estimated 2.5 million viewers—an unrivaled accomplishment for a rural arthouse cinema—and collaborated with educational institutions and not-for-profit organizations, hosted presentations by filmmakers, writers and artists and produced and hosted festivals. In 2010, Upstate Films expanded to Ulster County, and operated the Tinker Street Cinema Woodstock for 10 years. In 2021, we purchased and rescued the historic three-screen Orpheum Theatre in Saugerties. The theater will complete Phase 2 of its renovations in spring of 2024. During the pandemic, Upstate Films built a state-of-the-art traveling cinema that has provided 40+ outdoor music + film events in some of the most beautiful spots in the region. Our Live from Upstate series Films produces live theater and music performances and lectures; our Momentum program served more than 1,800 public school students in the 2022-23 school year.

Among the 50 years of highlights of mind-altering cinema are visits  notable luminaries including New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael; Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory (who presented the first reading of their My Dinner with Andre, later made into a film);  Jonathan Demme, John Sayles, Todd Haynes, Errol Morris, Jim Jarmusch and Debra Granik. In the past two years, we’ve hosted programs with Frances McDormand and Joel Coen, Kelly Reichardt, Luca Guadagnino, Rick Linklater, Ethan Hawke, Susan Orleans and Godfrey Reggio.