– a provincial cinema and a cultural agent in Lejre, run solely by volunteers.
Hvalsø cinema was built in 1942 by factory owner Anders Andersen and ranger Peter Christensen. There were 250 seats, as well as a shooting gallery in the basement.
The decade from the mid-70’s to the mid-80’s was a difficult period for the cinema. The competition from TV and videos was increasing, and the structure in the film industry made it difficult for small cinemas to get access to first-run movies. In 1978 a film club for children was formed, and in 1981 a club for senior citizens followed.
In order to preserve the cinema, Friends of Hvalsø Cinema was formed in 1983, the façade was renovated and a 47 m2 stage was built. However, in 1989 the cinema was put up for sale.
The Association Hvalsø Cinema and Arts Centre.
On November 10th 1997 an association of volunteers was formed and with the means from donations and sponsorships, the cinema was made functional. And on August 18th 1998, the cinema was re-opened.
The association, Hvalsø Cinema, numbers almost 1000 members who own and run the cinema. The cinema has no CEO, but the daily operations are co-ordinated by 100 volunteers who are organized in autonomous working groups. Over 20 years, 10 million kroner has been invested in a new café, ventilation, new seats and, obviously, digitalization.
Today Hvalsø Cinema occupies a special position in Lejre’s cultural life and offers its audiences a cinema experience that fully compares to the cinemas in Copenhagen. It is visited by more than 20,000 people annually, and more than 200 films are shown at 600 performances.
The repertoire spans from first-runs to family films, “narrow” films and film gems, and 12 times annually live performances from the Metropolitan Opera are transmitted.