Miami’s godfather of art cinema is returning to work.
Nat Chediak, who co-founded the Miami International Film Festival and hand-picked the lineup for 18 years, has agreed to become director of programming at the Coral Gables Art Cinema. Chediak, 64, replaces Robert Rosenberg, who had programmed the theater since its inception and quit his director’s post last month.
“South Florida enjoys an illustrious history of specialized film exhibition going back as far as I can remember,” said Chediak, who operated several arthouses in the city in the 1970s and ’80s. “I may have been away from exhibition for a number of years, but my love of film remains undiminished.”
The Coral Gables Art Cinema, 260 Aragon Ave., which celebrates its fourth anniversary on Wednesday, has been a critical part of the resurgence of the Miami art film scene, joining other venues such as O Cinema’s two locations (in Wynwood and Miami Shores), the Bill Cosford Cinema at the University of Miami and the Miami Beach Cinematheque in bringing quality alternative fare that might have skipped Miami altogether five years ago.
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“I feel that we’re living the finest moment in this community’s history of specialized film exhibition, and I’m privileged to become a part of it again in a theater that has established itself in an enviable position of success,” Chediak said.
The theater’s board of directors will vote on Tuesday to make the hiring official. But Steven Krams, founding chairman of the theater, said the job offer has already been vetted by executive committee officers and that he is confident the vote will pass without opposition.
Krams has known Chediak since 1975, when his company, Magna-Tech Electronic Co., upgraded the projection system from 16mm to 35mm at the original Cinematheque on Alcazar Avenue.
“It may be true that Nat has been out of the game for a while,” Krams said. “But he’s always stayed connected to the film industry and has a great grasp of what’s going on out there. His expertise, knowledge and wit will quickly become part of our theater.”
Since its opening in October 2010 under Rosenberg’s leadership, the 141-seat venue, which features 2K/4K digital projection, has managed to outgross even certain theaters in New York and Los Angeles with specific titles and is much in demand among film distributors.
“Miami used to be one of the top markets in the country when Chediak ran his theaters and the festival,” says Tom Bernard, co-president of Sony Pictures Classics, distributor of films such as Blue Jasmine and I’m So Excited! “The idea of having him back in the game can only bode even better for Miami.”
If the vote passes and Chediak is officially hired, he will begin immediately.
“I’m approaching this very humbly, with the help of the totally dedicated staff that Steve has assembled,” Chediak says. “I can’t wait to get acclimated. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”