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Adam Lubitow

On a Tuesday at Hot Rosita's

Interview No. 89

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Where are you originally from?

I was born and raised in Henrietta. I moved away for college to attend SUNY Fredonia, where I studied English and Film Studies. A lot of my friends were from Rochester, so that drew me back after I graduated. I’ve got no complaints about ending up here!

What is your favorite part of living in Rochester?

The active arts community—there’s so much going on. People are so passionate about doing what they do, and doing it in Rochester. The history here, with film specifically, makes it a cool place for me to be writing about film in the city that it came from.

Do you have any favorite/secret Rochester spots?

Pretty much any local movie theatre counts as one of my favorite Rochester spots. We have so many independent theatres for a city of our size—the Little, the Dryden, the Cinema! Mendon Ponds is another one of my favorite spots. I ran cross country in high school, so I’m intimately familiar with that particular park.

What’s the most unique or interesting event you’ve attended in Rochester?

The Nitrate Picture Show is up there—a weekend where the Dryden screens exclusively older films shot on nitrate. Nitrate was banned everywhere back in the 50s because it was so combustible. Only a few theatres in the world can screen things on nitrate, and we have one of them right here in Rochester. We take it for granted, I think. People from all over the world come to this festival every year—at the 2017 festival, there were people from over 20 different countries! For me, the Nitrate Picture Show is particularly fun because I get to be surrounded by others who are also excited and passionate about film.

We have a huge number of other film festivals, too, like the Jewish Film Festival and the Rochester International Film Festival, which is the oldest continuously running short film festival in the world! It’s in April at the Dryden every year, and it’s completely free.

Do you have a favorite charity/nonprofit you like to support?

I volunteer at the Image Out Film Festival every year, serving on the programming committee. I’ve volunteered with them for 10 years now. It’s a year-round time commitment including tasks like editing the descriptions of films for the program and helping screen films to decide what gets to be shown at the festival. I’m also a member at The Little and I donate to Planned Parenthood and ACLU.

If you had $100 to spend and 2 hours to kill in ROC, how would you spend it?

I’d go get a huge platter of sushi at Shema and share it with friends. With any money leftover, I’d order t-shirts from Fright Rags. I have a long wish list!

What’s your personal coping mechanism for cold/gray weather?

Sitting on the couch, wrapped up in blankets and watching movies works pretty well for me. I like watching the snow from inside.

What is your favorite Rochester memory?

It’s difficult to pick just one because I’ve lived in Rochester my whole life! I feel like I never have the same day twice—especially with Matt, every day is an adventure (Editor’s note: Adam’s boyfriend, Matt DeTurck, is also an I Heart ROC alumnus! Check out his interview here). Lots of filming projects stand out in my memory though—we often round up a group of people and do weird things. I vividly remember wearing a sheet in Tryon Park one fall for Matt’s annual Halloween series of photos.

What makes Rochester unique?

It’s why I live here: the arts community and our history of film. The stuff that I’ve built my career on is exactly what keeps me here.

What do you think could be improved?

Finding a way to keep college grads in Rochester is definitely something we could improve on. We have nationally recognized colleges here pumping out smart, talented grads—but they often feel like they have to leave for a bigger city to pursue what they want. We need to help them realize they can do cool things right here in Rochester.

If Rochester was a genre of movie, what would it be and why?

Rochester would be the type of movie that goes under the radar for a long time, not really getting the attention it deserves. But gradually, people start hearing about it from their friends who tell them, “It’s a hidden gem! You have to check it out,” and it slowly starts to gain the recognition it deserves.  

Do you have a favorite moviegoing memory from your time in ROC?

Two years ago, Matt and I planned a marathon movie day where we saw a bunch of different movies and four different theatres across Rochester. We went to Tinseltown, then on to Pittsford, next to The Little, and we ended the day at Movies 10. RIP, Movies 10. You are missed.

Any tips for the optimal moviegoing experience in ROC?

Well, preferences vary to the individual person, but that’s the good thing about Rochester having so many theatres! You can decide what suits you best.

I do recommend seeing things outside your usual comfort zone. A good movie is a good movie, whether it’s a big superhero blockbuster or an indie film.

Also, don’t use your cell phone during a movie. That’s one of my biggest pet peeves.

Any advice for people who are new to Rochester and just starting to explore the community?

Go out and do things! Pay attention to what’s going on. If you think nothings happening, then you’re not paying attention. Just try things!

Adam Lubitow is a freelance writer and film critic for CITY Newspaper. He is also a programmer for ImageOut Film Festival, Rochester's LGBT Film Festival. For more of Adam's perspective, check out our Instagram.