While many people go to the theater to relax and be entertained after a busy day, the moviegoers at The Nightlight Cinema go there not to get away from it all—but instead are seeking community engagement.

Opened in 2014 in Akron, Ohio, this art house’s mission is to create a place where cinema and community exist in tandem. Open nightly, it provides a classy nightspot where patrons can enjoy the cinematic art form and explore new ideas as part of a thoughtful community.

It is this type of engagement that can become a catalyst for social change.

For instance, after the screening of Inside Akron’s Tent City, a locally produced documentary that premiered at the 43rd Cleveland International Film Festival, The Nightlight Cinema added extra show dates at its theater to keep the homelessness crisis at the forefront of people’s minds.

Filmed by a local group of filmmakers, this web series details the battle in Akron over a radical but ever so human approach to homelessness. Shot on an iPhone for less than $1,000, it documents a local homeless community’s attempt to self-organize and the city government’s efforts to displace them.

To provide a more intimate look at homelessness in Akron and the community’s response to it, The Nightlight Cinema hosted the film’s director and members of the crew, the executive director for The Homeless Charity and Village, and former Ohio House of Representatives member Zack Milkovich to further the discussion. The film resonated with the city in many ways and helped people empathize with those who are homeless.

Read the full article about film as a catalyst for social change by Laura Briedis Tomko at ARTS Blog.