Cinema Favorit – From Cinema to Community Center

The Cinema Favorit project works to revive an abandoned cinema into a community center with the help of citizens of Drumul Taberei neighbourhood, in Bucharest. It represents an ongoing work started as a volunteer at CeRe (The Resource Centre for Public Participation) when the goal was to form a core of people interested in solving problems that they relate to in the area. This is how the Favorit Initiative Group formed in 2011.

As part of the process we helped the core group of citizens to organize community meetings in order to prioritize the issues they want to work on. In the problem identifcation stage the group unanimously decided as their objective to restore an old cinema building and to transform it into a cultural centre. Since then the group has been organising weekly meetings and constant lobbying campaigns but local bureaucracy and the unclear ownership status of the building has slowed down the overall process.

Cinema Favorit was a temporary intervention that activated the space in front of the disused cinema. The meanwhile use of the cinema was intended as a pilot project for community-led regeneration, making the case for temporary uses as a way to sidestep red tape and influence its future redevelopment into a cultural and community centre.

The project had both a built component (an open air cinema and gathering space) and a programmatic component co-curated with the residents’ group (a film festival, participative community workshops, recreational activities).


Cinema Favorit project objectives

Improvement of existing public space through place specific urban furniture

Public event series: film screenings, open access library, music evenings. These events where meant to attract the wider Bucharest public and re-establish the Cinema Favorit as a cultural venue

Neighborhood aimed events (co-curated with the residents’ group): Workshops and training programs aimed at building self-organization capacity within the citizen group. Ideally, this would ensure the sustainability of the project meaning that after our departure, the group would have the knowledge and the connections to sustain similar activities in the future.

Exhibition: Civic Architecture in the Communist Era – documents the civic architecture of socialist Romania, rising awareness about the crumbling heritage of modernist civic programs built between 1960s and 80s.