A Sneak Preview: The Milford Independent Cinema


Photo courtesy of Milford Independent Cinema Facebook page.

A new banner placed below the original Milford Cinema sign.

Sadie Guffy, Group Leader

One of the greatest feelings is sitting down for a movie with your family and a bucket of popcorn at your local cinema. The movie theater is a chance to escape into a fictional world of your favorite characters (with snacks, of course). First opened in 1972, the Milford Cinema was a comforting space for all of the locals to enjoy a new movie and spend time with their families. The friendly staff faces would greet the customers who they had come to know by name over the years while handing them their soft drinks and candies of choice. The news of this community favorite closing due to the effects of COVID-19 was sad news to all Milford residents, including village native and Milford High School senior Tess Wyniemko. “I have lived in the village my whole life, so I have so many great memories from my childhood attached to the Milford Cinema,” Wyniemko stated. “My parents would let us as kids walk there on our own and it was always so fun to see a movie somewhere that felt like home. Even as I got older, I would always go to the Milford Cinema to see movies on opening day.” Wyniemko felt like many residents did upon hearing of the loss of a town treasure. That was until the news broke of the new Milford Independent Cinema project.

The Milford Independent Cinema is now a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing a fun and positive family experience to Milford locals. It is a community-oriented endeavor with the plans that are currently in place. Lakeland High School Teacher Isaac Perry is a board member of this project.

“The Milford Cinema has always been a treasured business for local residents, especially families who don’t want to head to the large theaters and pay a higher ticket price,” he noted. “Our board wants to preserve that aspect of the theater while also expanding its reach within the community.” He also added, “We especially want to partner with other area businesses and nonprofit organizations to offer locally made options for concessions, as well as providing a wider range of programming and events to support educational endeavors like student film festivals and other efforts of community interest.”

Wyniemko is excited about the new project. “Like many Milford residents, I was sad to hear that the Milford Cinema was closing. As soon as I heard about the Milford Independent Cinema, I was so relieved that the original cinema’s legacy would be able to live on.”

In a tight-knit community like Milford, this is going to be a great place to display everyone’s love and appreciation for our small town.

The updated marquee outside of the new Milford Independent Cinema. (Photo courtesy of Milford Independent Cinema Facebook page.)

With new owners of the space, come new renovations. 

“First and foremost, we will be updating the screening room with a new arrangement of wider seats,” Perry stated. “We will also renovate the lobby with a new concessions stand and ticket area, as well as updated bathrooms. Overall, we are aiming for an Art Deco-style atmosphere. You’ll still be able to recognize the space as the Milford Cinema, but it will definitely feel like a new and exciting experience.”

Milford residents will receive an updated and more comfortable style to the cinema that they all know and love. With new ownership, the cinema will also be run in a different way than it was formerly run. Perry said, “As a nonprofit organization, all profits will be invested back into the theater itself. We are currently reaching out to the community and asking for donations to help us fulfill the renovations as well as provide funding to sustain the space during restricted capacity since COVID-19 is still around.” He continued to explain, “By community members and area businesses making that initial investment, the Milford Independent Cinema will truly be a theater by the people and for the people. None of the board members are in this project to make money – we simply want to preserve the space while also maximizing its potential as a community hub.”

The Milford Independent Cinema is truly a project being passionately carried out as a way to bring the community together. Locals of the town are working hard to raise funds to make this dream a reality. While the cinema is going to be under a new name and management, the soul of the original cinema that Milford knows and loves will be preserved and honored. You can make a donation toward the Milford Independent Cinema on their website, www.milfordcinema.org. This exciting renovation is currently set to open on Jan. 1, 2021.