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Rialto Cinemas Elmwood & Cerrito Need Your Help

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Since 2007, Rialto Cinemas has brought the best films and big screen events to our theatres Rialto Cinemas Elmwood in Berkeley and Rialto Cinemas Cerrito in El Cerrito.  Over the years we have opened our doors to hundreds of groups and organizations to raise awareness and funds for issues and organizations through the use of film.  Among the organizations we have worked with are KALX, Berkeley Animal Care Services, Pacific Center, Gender Spectrum, Willard Middle School, Madera Elementary, and Korematsu Middle School.

We have been closed since March 17th due to COVID-19.  We have managed to survive the past five months due in part to receiving a small PPP loan as well as an Economic Injury Disaster Loan.  We generate a small amount of continuing revenue from gift card sales and our Virtual Cinema offerings.  Unfortunately these revenue streams do not provide enough support for our continued costs including rent, insurance, and utilities which total close to $20,000 per month combined for the two theatres. 

Rialto Cinemas Elmwood and Rialto Cinemas Cerrito are a vital part of the East Bay’s cultural landscape and we need your help to survive this pandemic. This is the biggest obstacle we have ever faced.  Our goal is a simple one - to survive into 2021.  We are struggling to meet our current financial obligations.  If you can consider helping us during this impossible time with a donation or by spreading the word about our campaign (or both!), the impact would be immeasurable.


The stark reality is that we have been closed for more than five months and at this point we have no idea when the State of California and the health authorities having jurisdiction (Contra Costa Health for the Cerrito and Berkeley Health for the Elmwood) will allow us to resume operations. Even when we can resume operations our capacity will be limited to less than 25% due to social distancing requirements.  With limited film releases, limited capacity, and increased operating costs to combat COVID-19 it will be difficult to operate profitably until capacity restrictions are lifted and our audiences return in significant numbers.

Since opening at the Elmwood in the summer of 2007 and the Cerrito in the summer of 2009 we have offered a diverse and eclectic array of films along with big screen events including National Theatre Live, Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema, Exhibition on Screen and more.  Your support makes a vital contribution to the Rialto Cinemas experience. 

We regularly contribute passes to non-profits and school organizations as well as provide both films and auditorium space local school groups.  Our long-running partnership with the Friends of the Cerrito to present Cerrito Classics has resulted in the regular screening of an eclectic acclaimed classic films from Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window to the Grease Sing-A-Long.  Each year the Cerrito Awards Night Party is the place to watch the Oscars!

We have had the privilege of hosting a large number of independent filmmakers for Q&A screenings and unique events through the years including guest artists like Bela Fleck, Harry Shearer, Anna Halprin, and many others.

We know so many of you have fond memories of from the Elmwood and the Cerrito.  We would love for you to leave a memory or a photo of happier times in the comments section.  

Thank you so much for your incredible generosity and support, as we work to keep Rialto Cinemas Elmwood and Rialto Cinemas Cerrito operating long into the future!

Be safe.  Be well.  We look forward to helping you see the world through film again soon.

Best regards,

Ky J. Boyd

Rialto Cinemas Elmwood 
Berkeley’s Only Independently Owned Movie Theatre

Rialto Cinemas Cerrito
El Cerrito’s Hometown  Movie Theatre


  • Nancy Ebbert
    • $100 
    • 1 yr
  • Chris Baskett
    • $25 
    • 1 yr
  • Peter Rukin
    • $50 
    • 3 yrs
  • Anonymous
    • $500 
    • 3 yrs
  • Victoria Milnes
    • $25 
    • 3 yrs

Fundraising team: Rialto Cinemas East Bay (2)

Ky Boyd
Berkeley, CA
Ky Boyd
Roxanne Goodfellow
Team member

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