Event – Detail

Film Screening
June 22 at 6:00 PM
Screening of The Automat plus Q&A with the Director
Lisa Hurwitz

Featuring an original new song written and performed by Mel Brooks, The Automat which Premiered at the 2021 Telluride Film Festival and was nominated for four 2022 Critics Choice Awards tells the 100-year story of the iconic restaurant chain Horn & Hardart, the inspiration for Starbucks, where generations of Americans ate and drank coffee together at communal tables. From the perspective of former customers 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 - we watch a business climb to its peak success and then grapple with fast food in a forever changed America.

A native of Los Angeles, Lisa Hurwitz received her degree from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington during which time she volunteered as a 35 mm projectionist at the Olympia Film Society and became staff of the theater, directing the town's annual Olympia Film Festival. Lisa went on to work at arts organizations in Washington including the Seattle Jewish Film Festival and Arts & Culture department at the Stroum Jewish Community Center of Greater Seattle and later moved to New York City where she worked as a publicist.

The Automat is Lisa's first feature film and she also self-distributed it which included a 9-week run at Philadelphia's very own Ritz Five. The Automat premiered at The 2021 Telluride Film Festival and was nominated for four 2022 Critics Choice Documentary Awards. Her next project, a documentary set in NYC where she lives, is currently in production.


(1 hr 19 mins)

Watch the trailer.

Also on view: MEET ME AT THE AUTOMAT: A Pop-Up Exhibit

A selection of The Athenaeum's collection of Horn & Hardart drawings and photographs will be on display in conjunction with our screening of The Automat on June 22. Stop by early to see this exhibition.

Non-member price: $25.00
Athenaeum member price: $15.00