A cultural meeting place
BY DEANNA CHENG
With their passion for movies and entertainment, it is no surprise this husband-and-wife duo took over the old Raja theatre. Naz and Mike Jamshedian love to draw groups of people together.
They met 18 years ago through a mutual friend and have been together for 17 years. Now they have the Collingwood Cinemas (3215 Kingsway ) and an active, sporty 10-year-old son.
With 18 years of experience in the theatre industry, their dream was to have their own venture. This came true in 2010 when they opened up Denman Cinemas in Vancouver’s West End. Unfortunately, the landlord pulled the rug out from underneath them and they lost the theatre in October 2012.
However, they remained positive and persevered. In November, they took over and created Collingwood Cinemas.
This warm couple are enthusiastic about building community. They want a place where you walk in and recognize faces. They hope for a sense of trust to emanate and for people to be true neighbours to each other.
When they first started, they weren’t sure what to name the place so they held a Facebook contest, letting the community give their input, sharing a tiny piece of the place.
“Places like this have to be preserved for a cultural meeting venue,” said Naz.
She opens up the theatre for different focuses, providing a space for meetings and events.
About 150 people from a church group, in early January, held a mass ceremony one morning.
During Christmas, there was a free screening of Madagascar 3. Naz said there was an excellent turnout after promotions at schools and the Collingwood Neighbourhood House.
Collingwood Cinemas requires a lot of love and attention. Naz and Mike made a few renovations, upgrading the sound systems to digital and installing cushy red seats that rock gently.
“We want to make it a personal movie experience,” said Naz.
In the future vision, she said she wanted it to be a place where people can stop by and talk to them. Be friends. She also, eventually, wants to have a dine-in service for the balcony area.
At Denman, on average, Mike booked about three to four events per week. Some of them were birthday parties and some were fundraisers. He hopes to have the same results at this new location.
He admits the movie business is always going down, especially with Netflix, high-definition TV and big multi-screened theatres, but he believes Collingwood has a chance against the odds.
When asked what makes them stand out, “cheaper prices, customer service, less commercialized and more community based,” said Mike.
They are advocates for charities, open to hosting fundraisers. That bond of connection is what they hope to achieve when people attend one of their events.
For movie genres, they mix it up with mainstream media, Bollywood flicks and cultural films.
This February, Skyfall will be playing and they will be hosting the Serbian film festival.
Prices (incl. Tax)
Seniors (66+): $5.95
Children (2-10): $5.95
Seniors (66+): $8
Children (2-10): $8
Deanna Cheng is a resident of the Renfrew community and a journalism student at Langara College. She practises Shito-ryu Karate at Odokan Dojo.
© Copyright (c) 2013 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News