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Nitehawk Cinema Expands Programming Team, Unveils Film Series (EXCLUSIVE)

Nitehawk Cinema
Courtesy of Nitehawk Cinema

Nitehawk Cinema is expanding its programming team.

The chain, which has branches in Williamsburg and Prospect Park, in Brooklyn, N.Y., has hired Cristina Cacioppo and Desmond Thorne to augment its programming staff. They will both report to John Woods, Nitehawk’s director of programming and acquisitions.

Cacioppo most recently programmed for the Alamo Drafthouse in downtown Brooklyn, where she oversaw the repertory programming, and spearheaded new film series and events. She has been a film programmer for the past two decades, having previously headed up the 92nd Street Y’s Tribeca film program. She is the co-director of the New York branch of the Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies, has an ongoing column, “The Outskirts,” for Screen Slate, and has written on occasion for MUBI.

Thorne worked on the programming team at NewFest, New York’s LGBT film festival, for three years, as both a festival programmer and a consultant for their year-round programming. Thorne is also a filmmaker and host of the Amanda Seales-produced podcast, “Adventures in Black Cinema.”

“Joining the Nitehawk team has me in such incredible company. The alchemy of Desmond, John, and my distinct tastes melds together perfectly, and we’ve only just gotten started,” Cacioppo says of the new collaboration.

Thorne adds, “I am so thrilled to be Programming at Nitehawk and honored to be working with Cristina and John! The three of us collaborating together has been such a joy and I can’t wait to unleash our mutual brilliance on to the cinema audiences of NYC.”

Nitehawk Cinema boasts the return of some of their beloved series and film festivals, as well as the debuts of a few new ones. Mainstay series include “Anniversary Party” (screening films on the anniversary of their theatrical release), which will feature the 20th anniversary screening of the film that inspired the series name, “The Anniversary Party,” followed by a Q&A with co-director/star Alan Cumming; “In Case You Missed It 2020” (films that might have slipped under your radar during COVID); and “Weekends With Wes” (a brunch journey through the oeuvre of Wes Anderson). Many of the theater’s original series will return as well, including “Live Sound Cinema” (featuring favorite films with a live-orchestra soundtrack), “Music Driven” (the latest music-focused features and bonafide classics), “Spoons, Toons & Booze” (featuring beloved cartoons with an all-you-can-eat cereal bar), “No Budge” (a partnership with the streaming platform, bringing focus to emerging filmmakers), and “Future of Film is Female” (a partnership with the nonprofit that amplifies the work of all women and non-binary filmmakers).

“It’s both surreal and exciting to be back,” Woods says. “I feel like the time away has given us all a new and energized focus. We’ll continue to expand the scope of our repertory programs and live screening events celebrating all the talented and passionate individuals making feature and short films as well as music videos and documentaries. We have a lot of great things planned and can’t wait to share them with everyone.”

The new programmers bring with them fresh, new monthly series including “Re-Consider This!,” a series that begs the audience to “reconsider” films that were considered “bad” upon release. Upcoming screenings include “Gothika” (35mm), “Josie and the Pussycats” and “The Family Stone” (35mm). There will also be “Adventures in Black Cinema,” a series coinciding with Thorne’s podcast of the same name. Upcoming titles include “Tales From the Hood,” “Soul Food” (35mm), and “The Preacher’s Wife” (35mm). There will also be the new series “Nostalgia, ULTRA,” which will feature childhood movies from the ‘80s, ‘90s and early aughts. These include “The Addams Family,” “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

Rounding out the new series are “Nitehawk Diaries,” an erotic thriller series kicking off with the Mark Wahlberg and Reese Witherspoon early work “Fear,” followed by Antonio Banderas and Rebecca de Mornay in “Never Talk to Strangers” and Alec Baldwin and Nicole Kidman in “Malice.” Each screening includes a game of “Erotic Thriller Tropes Bingo.” There will also be the “Recent Restorations” series, featuring Marcell Jankovics’ animated classic “Son of the White Mare” in September and Paul Morrissey’s “Blood for Dracula” in October.

Film festivals will once again grace the Nitehawk Theater screens, with the Williamsburg location hosting the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival from Oct. 14 to Oct. 21, and the Prospect Park location hosting NewFest from Oct. 16 to Oct. 24. The Nitehawk Shorts Festival is also set to return from March 2-6, 2022, with submissions opening up on Monday.