Dave Barber Cinematheque: Where Independent Cinema Shines

Head to Cinematheque for the best of local, Canadian, and International independent and art-house films.

Dave Barber Cinematheque lives in the historic Artspace building. Run by the Winnipeg Film Group, Cinematheque has been a theatre mainstay in the Exchange since the early 1980s, screening the best of local, Canadian, and International independent and art-house films.

What started as a screening series in 1982 by the late Dave Barber has grown into a local cultural institution. Last October, the theatre was renamed in his honour, recognizing his contribution as the theatre’s lead programmer for over 40 years. His well-established legacy continues through the ongoing unique and thoughtful programming.

Jaimz Asmundson, programming director of Cinematheque, says, “Part of the mission of the theatre is to program works that are ignored by mainstream cinema, or things you can’t see anywhere else, and so we’re always seen as being the alternative to the mainstream.”

Nic Kaneski, Olivia Norquay, and Jaimz Asmundson at Cinematheque

It’s a theatre for lovers of film and people who value unique movie-going experiences. In their curation, they try to ensure there is something for everyone, which has led to their success in creating a community of film lovers.

“It functions as a community space, and you’re not watching something on Netflix alone by yourself. You’re, having an emotional experience with other people in a room full of strangers. And I think a lot of people come to Cinematheque for that sense of community,” states Nic Kaneski, Box Office Manager.

Programming is a collaborative project, with members of the Cinematheque staff working together to curate each month’s films and events.  This environment promotes a sense of excitement amongst the team, who says that the movies they curate are films that staff are genuinely interested in and excited about. This level of passion and particularity sets Cinematheque apart from other theatres.

While one major focus is to highlight independent work coming out of Canada, and especially Manitoba, the team also curates international films, offering a chance to see movies not seen anywhere else in Winnipeg.  They incorporate Q&A’s, introductions by the filmmakers or other involved parties, and other extra elements to make the experience exciting for audiences.

Cinematheque’s ability to screen various films in different formats sets them apart even further. They are the only theatre in Manitoba that still has a 35mm projector. They also have the ability to screen Super 8 film, VHS Tapes via a digital projector, 16mm film, and more. They can show anything, giving them a wide array of content from different time periods and locations to choose from.

Welcome to the Box Office

Accessibility is another attribute of Cinematheque. Olivia Norquay, the Programming Coordinator at Cinematheque, notes that it’s important to create access for people who live in the city centre to bus, walk, or bike to the theatre.  As the only theatre in downtown Winnipeg, they accomplish just that. Olivia believes “Communities are better when people are able to walk around to do things and have that walkability.”

Being in the Exchange also allows for a collaborative environment with other local businesses – in the Artspace building and beyond.  The Cinematheque team has done different events and programming with businesses in the area, knowing many business owners on a first-name basis. It’s a community they are happy to be a part of and help grow.

There’s always something new going on at Cinematheque- whether that be special events, new films, or updates.  This summer, they received a liquor license and started serving drinks. A few other changes are also on the horizon, including a box office renovation and a new website.

As we head into the fall season, you’ll see lots of unique programming, especially around Halloween. The team is very excited to collaborate with the University of Manitoba School of Art to showcase the chilling works of Kenneth Anger.

Plan your next movie night at Cinematheque and check out some inspiring independent films.

Learn more about upcoming films: 

Check out the Kenneth Anger screening:

Keep up with them on Instagram: @wfgcinematheque