Alfreda’s Cinema is working towards becoming the only micro-cinema in Brooklyn to operate under the leadership of a Black woman with a mission to screen films that celebrate Black and non-Black people of color. We’ll provide an urgent platform for marginalized films and filmmakers. Founded by Melissa Lyde in 2015, Alfreda’s Cinema screens films that tell Black stories that resonate with depth and love, the richness and culture of our history, our dynamics, our shapes, our colors, and our truth. By strategically operating in a predominantly Black neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY, Alfreda’s Cinema directly connects Black audiences with Black films.
Alfreda’s Cinema is currently in residence at The Metrograph Cinema, located in Manhattan. Screening Black films in white-owned/operated spaces reinforce the white gaze that woefully informs Black filmmaking. We seek to create a physical structure for the Black gaze in film exhibitions setting a precedent for Black moviegoers in this century.
Melissa Lyde has worked across the film industry for ten years. In addition to partnerships with Videology and The Metrograph, she has programmed for the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), The Maysles Cinema, and The Spectacle and has written for Framework: The Journal of Cinema and Media.
In 2019, Melissa established La Critique du Film Noir an online journal committed to connecting audiences with Black media programs in and around the city. The journal promotes Black visual events in the tri-State area while simultaneously serving as a film archive. Melissa is proactively building relationships with the local Black film community to create a strong network for emerging and independent filmmakers, those currently releasing work and those whose work has gone overlooked.
Alfreda’s Cinema has proudly collaborated with Locally Grown T.V and The New York African Film Festival, along with film distributors including, Milestone Pictures, The Filmmakers Cooperative, and The Criterion Collection. Alfreda’s Cinema envisions a path forward for Black film exhibition. And we’ll continue sharing stories about Black life with an engaged audience while inspiring storytellers with the knowledge that they have a place to share their films.
Your contribution to our GoFundMe signifies that you want to disrupt the systemic power structure of arthouse and commercial cinemas. By placing your trust in our mission you’re encouraging us to continue down this path. Funding will be used to secure a space in Brownsville, BK, and build out the infrastructure for a home for cinephiles. We believe Black Cinema is a lifestyle and in addition to our programming, resources will be used to reinforce this belief. In the spirit of keeping ticket sales affordable, our community space will also operate as a coffee and film memorabilia/book shop. We intend to establish post-production residencies, film criticism workshops, and programs towards digital preservation and archiving.
We understand this may be a lot to ask from our community, especially as we pull ourselves out of this current crisis. But at the rate we’re going an affordable New York will be gone before we know it. And we believe now is the time to secure a future and preserve the legacy of Black films. Thank you for your support on our journey.
Please enjoy this video of our end of Summer beach screening and reading of Julie Dash's Daughters of the Dust.
Merch for the cause!