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Rachel Jacobson learned the value of “art sharing” from her father, the late David Jacobson: “He created this vibrancy around art sharing within our family. He was so excited about music and film and literature.”
Now, as founder and executive director of Film Streams, Jacobson, along with her “extraordinarily dedicated” staff and hundreds of volunteers, is engaged in art sharing with the entire community – specifically the art of film.
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“Everyone is passionate about film here,” Jacobson says.
A 501(c)3 nonprofit, Film Streams oversees two cinemas: the Ruth Sokolof Theater, a two-screen venue that opened in 2007 in north downtown Omaha within the Saddle Creek Records complex, and the historic Dundee Theater, Omaha’s longest surviving neighborhood cinema and a favorite of her father’s growing up.
“It’s a different experience coming to one of our venues versus a traditional multiplex,” Jacobson says. “The films we play make you think or say something provocative about the world or show you a completely different lifestyle and way of existing.”
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From left to right: Diana Martinez, Education Director, Ira Madison, Cultural Critic and Karin Campbell, Phil Willson Curator of Contemporary Art
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Committed to sharing the art of film with as many as possible, Film Streams regularly partners with other nonprofits and community groups, and offers year-round film-education opportunities.
“We’re welcoming thousands of kids to the theater each year.”
“Our education director, Diana Martinez, is leading discussions around classic films, foreign films and documentaries, and these kids are having these great experiences through that.”
Jacobson says Film Streams thrives because of its guests, including 3,600+ donating member households; front-of-the-house volunteers; Community Development and Education Committee members; and “phenomenally engaged” Board. Oscar-winning filmmaker and Omaha native Alexander Payne agreed to serve before the theater was even built.
“At the time, I was a 26-year-old with some drawings of this little theater I wanted to open. He said, ‘I’ll do whatever I can to help you.’ I said, ‘Donate some money, join our board and curate our first film series.” And he was like, ‘Okay. Okay. Okay.’ He did all of that.”
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