Designed by Nick Herder, Fogo Island Inn’s 37-seat cinema features a state-of-the-art digital projection and sound system. The idea to have a cinema in the Inn was precipitated by Fogo Island’s longstanding relationship with the National Film Board. There were many great films in the NFB’s collection that dealt with Fogo Island, including the Fogo Process films, but no cinema on the Island until the opening of the Inn. The cinema was imagined by designer Nick Herder as a foreign space within the building: it is one of the few spaces without a reference point back to the island, besides the history of film itself. It was initially inspired by classic Art Deco-style movie houses but adapted to fit within the contemporary design of the Inn.
The “The Magic Picture Box” cinema is an independent box that sits within the greater building, and is literally built as a black box sitting inside of the Inn’s generally white space. Inside, the painted white wood finishes of the surrounding building seep into the cinema but fade to black in frames that wrap continuously around the room. The softer black frames increase, expand, and completely envelope the room at the front of the space to finally frame the projection screen. A red staircase, seats, and curtain carry you through the space in “red carpet” style.
The cinema doubles as lecture theatre, and presents daily scheduled programming as well as impromptu special film showings and presentations. Regularly scheduled programming typically includes documentaries chronicling resettlement, rural life, craftsmanship, and culture. The Inn’s collection includes classic NFB documentaries, films about Fogo Island, as well as a healthy collection of crowd-pleasing contemporary blockbusters and cult classics.