ITHACA, N.Y.—For the past nine years, Brett Bossard has been at the Cinemapolis helm, and next Friday, he’ll be departing the theater to make his way up to Ithaca College as the new Executive Director of Alumni and Family Engagement.

Bossard has accomplished quite a bit during his time downtown, and he credits the former executive director, Scott Bliss, for paving the way for the theater to transition to fully digital projection, a roughly $300,000 project, so that Bossard could focus on programming rather than the technical aspects of a movie theater.

The shift to digital also allowed the theater to be more flexible and allowed him to make decisions to ensure that Cinemapolis’ role as a community institution was solid.

“It’s a centrally located space, it’s got all these great rooms for gathering people together,” Bossard said. “This is where film can be used to make positive change.”

Looking back at the 65-week closure that theaters faced during COVID, Bossard is grateful for support from members of the community that allowed staff to remain employed during uncertain times. The situation was compounded by the demolition and reconstruction of the Green Street Garage that has made the theater fairly difficult to access over the last few years.

“It was an honor to know that this place is valued and that it really made it because people care about this place,” he said.

Bossard also said that he hadn’t been necessarily searching for a different career, but that the opportunity to return to his alma mater and connect with alumni was something he couldn’t pass up, and that he’s excited to take on a new adventure.

He’s also confident in the staff he’s leaving behind while the search is on for a new executive director. The staff is an important part of the theater experience, he says, one of the reasons Bossard took pride in paying Cinemapolis workers a living wage.

“As much as this place is about serving the public, it’s also about providing a livelihood for people who really care about this place,” he said, adding that “the employees are devoted and enthusiastic and people who come here want to talk to the staff about movies and what they’ve seen.”

Bossard has been in the nonprofit space since before coming to Cinemapolis, and he said that he’s excited to see what comes next for the theater when it finds a new executive director.

“I think there are probably opportunities to rethink the structure of the organization, and we’ve got a great spot here,” Bossard said. “I’m excited to see what someone else does with it, what their new ideas are.”

As far as his new role, Bossard is excited about the opportunity to travel and connect with alums from the school he credits much of his professional career with. “It’s an opportunity to meet up with other alums and find out ways that the institution can stay connected and continue to provide for people who devote four or more years to it.”

Aside from his upcoming job shift, Bossard is excited to visit Cinemapolis in a capacity that he hasn’t before: as a patron, with popcorn and all.

Zoë Freer-Hessler

Zoë Freer-Hessler is a general assignment reporter for the Ithaca Voice. She has covered a wide range of topics since joining the news organization in November 2021. She can be reached at