Searching for Mr. Rugoff
It would be hard to believe for anyone who has only been in New York City for less than 20 years, but at one time, the upper east side was considered the movie mecca of the city. In a relatively small area, there were at least 20 theaters, all of which had particular identities and lines around the block to attend whatever the latest films were. Among those theaters, the Rugoff Theaters, later known as the Cinema 5 Theaters, were the most beautiful, the most prestigious and played the most artfully curated films. The chain was a total of 12 locations in Manhattan, with a few locations downtown and two that were on the West Side (one only technically). Almost all of these theaters are now gone.
In conjunction with the release of the film “Searching for Mr. Rugoff,” about the crazy genius who controlled these theaters, filmmaker and Columbia Professor, Ira Deutchman, has created a scavenger hunt/walking tour to discover the locations where these theaters used to be, or in two cases, still are. The game is played on your smart phone and offers clues as to the locations of the theaters. Once in that vicinity, players will be challenged to find a hidden QR code that when snapped, will give credit for having visited that location and will call up the history of that theater from the Cinema Treasures web site. Additional activities include the ability to take a selfie with several of the original theaters superimposed in the background. Anyone who completes all the challenges will receive a poster for the film signed by the filmmaker. The first person to do so will also get a pass to attend a series of screenings celebrating the opening of the film.
The game will be launched on July 23rd and last until mid-August when the film opens.
To play, go to http://rugoffgame.com on your smartphone and sign in.
Then start playing!