After the Franklin-based Movie Gang shared its doubts Sunday of continuing with the Franklin Theatre for film-related events, the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, which owns the theater, has responded.
The organization confirmed the theater is no longer working with The Movie Gang or the Nashville Elvis Festival, which expressed solidarity with the film screening and events group on a Movie Gang Instagram post.
The festival shared its own concerns with its status with the theater in a comment.
The Heritage Foundation says that neither organization listed above chose to meet the standards it installed for what it describes as industry best practices and procedures under new management.
"Following necessary changes at The Franklin Theatre in June 2019, the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County’s CEO Bari Beasley hired entertainment veteran Paul T. Couch as The Franklin Theatre executive director," an emailed statement from the Heritage Foundation read.
"The Foundation’s goal in hiring Couch was to not only continue the legacy of the iconic venue but to also ensure its compliance with industry best-practice policies and procedures. Over the last six months, Foundation leadership and Couch have had a profound focus on fiscal responsibility, public safety, mitigating risk and ensuring all appropriate policies and laws are implemented and fully followed.
"As a result of Couch’s assessment, the organization updated its policies and procedures to conform with industry standards. Following these updates, the vast majority of the Theatre’s clients obligingly complied. However, the Heritage Foundation and The Franklin Theatre regret that a few clients, including The Movie Gang and the Nashville Elvis Festival, have chosen to not continue their relationships with The Franklin Theatre under these industry best practices.
"In the coming year, the Heritage Foundation and The Franklin Theatre will continue to focus on ways to ensure the Theatre’s success and compliance while also focusing on its mission of providing world-class performing arts experiences to diverse audiences and being a platform for local philanthropic engagement and education."
A post surfaced Sunday evening from The Movie Gang saying that it would not likely continue hosting screening events at the venue, citing in part lapses in communication as a driving factor.
"The way we are feeling is that moving forward with the Franklin Theatre sounds very counter-productive to the goal we worked toward and accomplished with past leadership," an Instagram post from the group read. "We wanted to create a night for uber movie fans. For the community of Franklin who loves sharing movies with their friends and feeling as close to the film as possible.
"For us to continue to build this and for it to be halted so fast is very discouraging. We hope you understand this dilemma and place of confusion."
The group did acknowledge being made aware of potential copyright issues with images used promotions for its November 2018 Hook screening at the Franklin Theatre.
"We have done events since that date and could have easily complied with recommendations for future promotions had we known about these issues," the post read. "But we were not informed until we reached out asking why we were getting radio silence."
The Nashville Elvis Festival chimed in on the post to share their dismay in not being with the Franklin Theatre any longer, but the Heritage Foundation says it was a voluntary decision for both parties to part ways and not meet the theater's new standards.
Though, The Movie Gang may find a home soon.
In reply to an inquiry on the Instagram post, the Mockingbird Theater, hosed at The Factory, signaled a willingness to potentially host The Movie Gang for its future events.