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Moving Image begins $65M site expansion

The museum, located at 35th Avenue and 36th Street in Astoria, used video game controllers to manipulate a moving image on its theater's screen to break ground on the renovation at a Feb. 27 ceremony, during which Rochelle Slovin, the museum's director, said the expansion would provide much needed space for its programs."Our museum has been bursting at the seams with screenings, events, collections, exhibitions and thousands upon thousands of visitors," she said. "I believe we will do more than grow. We will astonish."The project, scheduled for completion by 2009, will include the addition of a new 264-seat theater that will screen 35 mm and high-definition theatrical video projections, an education center with digital classrooms, a 64-seat classroom screening room, an exhibit gallery, a new cafe and a courtyard, in which an outdoor screen will be installed during the summer, Slovin said. The project will add three new stories to the museum's current building, she said.Western Queens elected officials said the museum is one of the most important cultural institutions in the city."There's no more appropriate place for the only museum dedicated to the moving image in the United States than western Queens, [which is] home to some of the best filmmaking in the city," City Councilman Eric Gioia (D-Sunnyside) said.The museum closed its Riklis Theater on Feb. 24 but will keep its gallery open until March 23, a museum spokeswoman said. The museum's collection of 130,000 film and television-related objects will still be available for scholars and researchers during the expansion, she said.In the meantime, the museum will hosts its retrospective panels and special screenings at various sites in Manhattan, she said.The expansion will add an estimated 66,500 square feet to the museum, Slovin said. The museum will celebrate its grand re-opening in late 2009, she said.Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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