Business Monday

20 under 40: Kareem Tabsch

KAREEM TABSCH, 34: “I’d rather think of myself as a champion of film culture and an expert popcorn maker.”
KAREEM TABSCH, 34: “I’d rather think of myself as a champion of film culture and an expert popcorn maker.” MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Sharing his love of film with Miami.

Age: 34

Occupation: Co-founder of O Cinema, where he is a film curator

Family status: Partnered

Lives in: Miami

At one time, Miami native Kareem Tabsch wanted to live anywhere but here. But then Tabsch says he started noticing “all the cool things that were happening” in the city.

“Miami has a way of sucking you in if you let it, and I let it,” says Tabsch, who stopped complaining about the lack of culture in Miami and started doing something about it.

He and Vivian Marthell, a colleague from his days with the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, decided to bring first-run independent art films to Miami. With a $400,000 grant from the Knight Foundation, they founded O Cinema, a theater dedicated to “first-run independent, foreign, art and family films.”

Although the grant was awarded in 2008, the theater didn’t open until 2011, in part because raising a matching $400,000 from family, friends and film buffs took time. (Tabsch even turned his 30th birthday into an O Cinema fundraiser.) His persistence paid off. Today O Cinema has a flagship location in Wynwood and satellites in Miami Shores and Miami Beach.

From Tabsch: “I’d rather think of myself as a champion of film culture and an expert popcorn maker.”

About Tabsch: “The thing that’s most exciting about what has happened with O Cinema is that Kareem found his life’s passion aligned with a significant cultural need in the community. He has put those two together to create a wonderful cultural resource for Miami.” — Dennis Scholl, vice president of arts for the Knight Foundation

Related stories from Miami Herald

  Comments