Two Documentaries with Local Subjects Come to the Crandell this June

Crandell Theatre, Columbia County’s oldest and largest movie house in Chatham, New York, screens critically acclaimed commercial films, classic movies, and arthouse independents in a variety of genres. This June, the Crandell will screen two distinct documentaries each featuring local subjects: The Automat and Hello, Bookstore. Each screening will be followed by post-film Q&A with community members, film subjects, and in the case of Hello, Bookstore, the filmmaker.

The Automat, playing Sunday, June 5, at 1 pm tells the 100-year story of iconic restaurant chain Horn & Hardart, where generations of Americans enjoyed coffee and meals at communal tables. The documentary features interviews with Spencertown resident Steve Stollman, an architectural dealer who bought, sold, and restored antique commercial wood bar fixtures. His work led to the preservation of original Automat equipment and provision to exhibitions at the New York Public Library and Museum of the City of New York. A Q&A with Stollman will follow the screening.

From the perspective of former customers such as entertainer Mel Brooks, Starbucks founder Howard Schultz, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Secretary of State Colin Powell, the Horns, the Hardarts, and key employees – the film follows the chain from peak success to grappling with fast food in a forever changed America.

“(The Automat) is something special. I loved (the film) for its mixture of fragrant recollections and astute social history. What’s surprising in the extreme is how moving the film can be in evoking those places of welcome during an era of American optimism.” – Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal

In Hello, Bookstore, playing Thursday, June 12, at 7 pm, and Sunday, June 15, at 1 pm, a small town rallies to protect a beloved local bookstore in its hour of need. A landmark in Lenox, Massachusetts, The Bookstore is a magical, beatnik gem thanks to its owner, Matt Tannenbaum, whose passion for stories runs deep. Presiding at The Bookstore for over forty years, Tannenbaum is a true bard of the Berkshires and his shop is the kind of place to get lost in. This intimate portrait of The Bookstore and the family at its heart offers a journey through good times, hard times and the stories hidden on the shelves.

Discussion and Q&A with Tannenbaum and filmmaker A.B. Zax will follow each Hello, Bookstore screening. Tannenbaum is also author of the memoir “My Years at the Gotham Book Mart with Frances Steloff, Proprietor.” Zax studied film and creative writing at Emerson College, before embarking on a career through the worlds of film production, film programming, and writing. Hello, Bookstore is his first feature. After living in New York and Los Angeles, he currently resides in the Berkshires.

“A tribute to the love of reading and the pleasures of a smartly stocked bookstore. Tannenbaum’s fondness for his store and its wares is a beautiful thing to behold.” – Lisa Kennedy, The New York Times

Tickets are sold online at the Crandell website,, and at the box office. Admission is $9 nonmembers, $8 members, and $7 for children 12 and under.

Crandell Theatre, Inc., owns and operates the historic theater on Main Street, Chatham, NY, one of the few remaining single screen theaters in the United States and listed on the national and state registers of historic buildings. The Crandell is supported through earned revenue, memberships, individual contributions, foundations, and grants. It receives general operating support from the New York State Council on the Arts. For information concerning the Crandell, visit the or contact the Crandell Office at 518-392-3445.