Circle Cinema Donates $16,400 for Greenwood Rising

1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission Recipient of Local Sundance Ticket Sale Proceeds

Clark Wiens, Circle Cinema Co-Founder and Board President (center) presents the donation to Phil Armstrong, Project Manager 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission (2nd from left) with Circle Cinema Board Members Gitzel Puente (right), Jay Eshelman (2nd from right), and Jared Goldfarb (left). Photo: Kathryn Michael

Clark Wiens, Circle Cinema Co-Founder and Board President (center) presents the donation to Phil Armstrong, Project Manager 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission (2nd from left) with Circle Cinema Board Members Gitzel Puente (right), Jay Eshelman (2nd from right), and Jared Goldfarb (left). Photo: Kathryn Michael

February 11, 2021 (Tulsa, Okla.) Circle Cinema announced today that they will donate $16,400 to the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission as a result of their role in the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. In late January, Circle Cinema served as one of 25 satellite locations for the Festival, which allowed it to continue safely despite a global pandemic. This donation reflects 100% of general admission ticket sale proceeds from the Tulsa venues.
“The opportunity to financially support the work of the Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission expands on our impact as we work to bring community consciousness through film,” said Clark Wiens, co-founder and current board president of Circle Cinema. “2021 marks an important year of healing for our city and our nation and we want to recognize the important work of the Commission through this donation, which was made possible by the community who supported us during Sundance in Tulsa.”
Circle Cinema identified the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission as the beneficiary of ticket sale proceeds as a part of their commitment to eliminate racism, which they released earlier this year. The Commission works to expand knowledge of the Black Wall Street community, create economic and entrepreneurial opportunities for African Americans, and promote community-wide reconciliation in Tulsa.
“The Commission was thrilled to have Circle Cinema choose to donate the Sundance ticket sale proceeds to our work,” said Phil Armstrong, Project Manager 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission. “Greenwood Rising history center plans to partner with the historic Circle Cinema in racial justice programming through film. We appreciate their generosity.”
Over six days (Jan 28 – Feb 2, 2021), Circle Cinema screened 14 official Sundance films between its main theater location on South Lewis Avenue, and the local drive-in theater, Admiral Twin. Several films screened won awards during the festival, including the critically acclaimed CODA and Judas and the Black Messiah. Each venue was limited to 20% and 25% capacity respectively to allow for proper social distancing but still welcomed approximately 2,050 moviegoers, which included 12 sold-out screenings.
Circle Cinema programmed 12 free “Beyond the Film” panels featuring eight short films focused on local filmmaking initiatives, including Representation Matters: Indigenous Filmmakers, Queering Cinema in Oklahoma, and Welcome to Tulsa, which shared details about the work of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission. To date these panel discussions, which remain free to watch on Youtube and Facebook, have reached over 10,000 viewers and counting.
Beginning this Friday (Feb. 12), Circle Cinema is offering encore performances of Shaka King’s biographical drama Judas and the Black Messiah only 11 days after it made its world premiere on February 1st at Circle Cinema as a part of the Festival. The film, which details the betrayal of Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya), chairman of the Black Panter Party, in the late 1960s at the hands of William O’Neal (LaKeith Stanfield) was applauded by critics, who praised King’s direction and the performances of Kaluuya, who has been nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the Golden Globes and Screen Actor Guild Awards. Showtimes and ticket information can be found at circlecinema.org.