At one time, Cinema “Kyiv” became a favorite place of those who are now over 30. Festival films, convenient location in the center of the capital, special atmosphere.

However, in 2019, everything changed. Despite having a new tenant, “Kyiv” was closed, and so far, it does not bring any benefit to citizens, nor money to the capital’s budget.

Let’s figure out why this happened, and how to open the doors of your favorite cinema again.


“Kyiv” is one of the oldest cinemas in the city, which has been functioning since 1952. Since 1992, the building has been in municipal ownership and is a monument of architecture and urban planning.

For twenty years until 2019, the premises were leased to the company Cultural Center “Cinema Kyiv.” At this time, the cinema really turned into a cultural center, showed (non-)commercial screenings of author’s films and specialized in festival activities.

It was there that the audience could enjoy the films at the festivals Molodist, Docudays UA, and others.

Low rent

However, behind the light of movie screens there was a problem — rent. The lessee paid only a meager UAH 47,000 per month for the use of the building of more than 7,000 sq. m. In January 2019, the city authorities refused to extend the agreement, which expired. After all, rental income is not marketable.

And although the previous lessee was allegedly ready to pay more, in April 2019, a competition was held. The winner was the “Cinema-Center” company (which owns a network of cinemas “Cinema City”), having offered the highest amount — UAH 2.1 mln per month.

The former lessee did not take part in the competition and refused to hand over the building to the winner. The company considered that the Kyiv authorities had not properly notified the termination of the lease and had violated the preemptive right to enter into a lease for a new term, as a result of which they had to go to court.

Recently, the Economic Court of Appeal denied the claim of the Cultural Center “Cinema Kyiv” to declare the original lease agreement extended and the agreement with the new tenant invalid.

As a result, in June 2021, the city authorities, together with the municipal guard (whose creation and activities we have already discussed) forcibly made the management and staff of the Cultural Center leave the premises, which led to a wave of protests.

Activists who are not indifferent to the fate of the cinema were worried not only about the continuation of its work, but also about maintaining the profile  showing non-commercial and festival films.

This was partially achieved in the contract with the new lessee. Thus, the lessee undertook to promote Ukrainian cinema (at least 30% of the total repertoire), to ensure the continuation of work in the format of a festival center, to pay attention to educational and children’s programs (some events are charitable).

New lessee — new (old) problems

However, after the agreement with a new lessee has been signed, there is still no audience in “Kyiv” — the cinema has not resumed its work. CinemaCenter reports that the building is in a state of disrepair, so it is unsuitable for film screenings and needs major repairs.

In August 2019, the lessee applied to the Office of Communal Property and ME Kyivkinofilm to approve major repairs at the expense of “CinemaCenter,” offering to pay UAH 570,000 rent per month, crediting the remaining amount (UAH 1.53 mln) for the invested repairs.

The city authorities refused; the lessee has the right to credit the cost of repairs to the rent only once, not monthly.

In total, the community of Kyiv received UAH 11.6 mln from the last lessee. In December 2019, a commission of the Office of Communal Property drew up an act and suspended the contract due to the inability to use the cinema for its intended purpose. The funds were no longer credited to the account.

In January 2020, the Kyiv Administrative Court decided to completely shut down the cinema and disconnect the premises from electricity. The reason is an unscheduled inspection of the State Emergency Service, which identified 48 violations of fire safety. Only in July 2020, did the lessee apply and approve the draft of accident-prevention works in the “Kyiv” cinema.

On October 13, 2021, the prosecutor’s office served the director of the Office of Communal Property department, his first deputy, and the director of Kyivkinofilm with charges of negligence. This is a potential illegal exemption of the “Cinema-Center” from rent, as a result of which the budget of Kyiv has not received funds for rent amounting to UAH 22 mln.

As of December 2021, the cinema is still empty and, according to the Office of Communal Property, “Cinema-Center” is not carrying out any works there.

What is to be done?

Recently, the owner of TOV “CinemaCenter” stated that he was not ready to invest in the cinema until the consideration of the case is completed in court. And this can take years.

It would seem that the simplest option is to terminate the lease or reject it. However, it’s not that simple.

Early termination of the lease agreement is possible in court or with the consent of the parties. It is unlikely that the lessee will refuse such a tempting asset in the center of the capital, for which they have already paid more than UAH 11 mln.

The only reason for unilateral termination of the contract is non-payment of rent for three consecutive months. However, the lessee is protected by an act that suspends the calculation of rent from December 1, 2019.

Activists who are not indifferent to the fate of the cinema were worried not only about the continuation of its work, but also about maintaining the profile — showing non-commercial and festival films.

However, there is a possibility to cancel this document. Within the framework of criminal proceedings, there is a conclusion of a forensic construction and technical examination. It says that the premises are suitable for the intended use. This is the basis for revocation of the act and the resumption of the lessee’s obligations to pay for rent, as well as for the intended use — the organization of film screenings, which citizens have waited so long.

The lease of municipal property should bring the maximum double benefit to the citizens — both through direct revenues to the budget and through improved infrastructure and new opportunities.

The Kyiv authorities should have stopped being the “audience” of a drama called “Rent of the Kyiv Cinema” and bring back to life one of the last cultural cinema centers of the capital. After all, the KCSA has the leverage to renew “CinemaCity’s” obligation to pay rent and resume film screenings.

The Kyiv authorities should have stopped being the “audience” of a drama called “Rent of the Kyiv Cinema” and bring back to life one of the last cultural cinema centers of the capital.