HARTFORD, CT — Cinestudio, the not-for-profit independent film cinema located on the campus of Trinity College in Hartford, CT, has appointed Lew Michaels as its new Executive Director. Michaels will assume leadership on Sept 1, 2021. 

John Michael Mason, Chair of the Board of Directors of Cinestudio, said, “We are very excited to begin a new chapter for Cinestudio with Lew Michaels at the helm. This theater has a rich history in New England and is known around the country as a unique, inclusive, premier art house cinema. Lew is committed to growing and reinforcing that legacy in honor of our founders.” 

Michaels becomes just the third Executive Director of Cinestudio, taking the helm from Executive Directors James Hanley and Peter McMorris who founded the theater in 1970 and co-managed it until Hanley’s retirement in 2020. McMorris will remain involved as Cinestudio’s Creative Director until his full retirement in 2022. 

Hanley said, “It has been a great honor to spend a lifetime at Cinestudio championing films and festivals that expand our understanding of what it means to be human. The countless volunteers who have joined in this effort over the years are like family to us, and I know Peter and I are overwhelmed by the support this community has shown the theater.” 

Now in its 51st season, Cinestudio is one of the most highly-regarded art house cinemas, with a long-standing reputation for its wide diversity of programing, state of the art projection, and legendary sound quality. The theater is a recreation of a 1930s film house with a magnificent single-screen venue, 455 seats, and a much-loved balcony. 

Michaels most recently served as General Manager of the Shubert Theater in New Haven. Prior to that, he spent thirteen years in theater operations and front-of-house management at Hartford Stage. Michaels has long been an advocate for promoting accessibility in arts institutions, and was a forerunner in implementing services such 

as open captioning, audio description, and sensory-friendly performances. In 2015, Michaels was awarded the Kennedy Center’s Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability (LEAD) Emerging Leaders award, and continues to present at their annual conference on various topics. He was selected by Cinestudio for his accomplished background in arts management, as well as his vision for enhancing Cinestudio’s community presence while preserving its legacy. 

Michaels said, “I am honored and humbled to be joining Cinestudio as its next Executive Director. Cinestudio has been a leader in the art of cinema and a beloved institution in the Greater Hartford community for more than 50 years. I look forward to building on the incredible foundation Peter and James have built and expanding our reach in the community by providing opportunities for shared experiences and dialogue through film.” 

Cinestudio is currently open seven days a week, with nightly screenings as well as weekend matinees. The theater has taken significant steps to keep audiences safe while continuing to bring new and distinguished films to the community. Visit cinestudio.org to see what is playing, to purchase tickets, and to make a donation.