Las Vegas needs an Art House movie theater

A Point of View, Film, Movies | | March 13, 2007 at 12:43

I just happened to check out the website for ShoWest, the film industry trade show that caters to cinema exhibition and distribution, and saw that they are offering a feature called ShoWest University. ShoWest U is an educational program geared toward the regional and independent theatre owner.

What a yearning I developed for the no-frills little Palm Theatre in San Luis Obispo CA, its multi-plex 4 screens showing the best of foreign-release and independent films. The only independent movie theatre between San Francisco and Los Angeles, movie fans drive from as far away as Monterey to see films nominated for Oscars not to be viewed elsewhere. One of the few reservations I had about moving to Las Vegas was the fact that there is no venue like the Palm (SLO variety). In spite of the wild life and competing distractions of Vegas, I hunger for good, intelligent movies that leave you with unanswered questions or dazzled by sheer aesthetic imagery.

I checked out the Tropicana Cinemas, and although it hosts worthy events like CineVegas, it doesn’t quite fill the bill. The Village Square Theatres in Summerlin do their part to bring us the better publicized (and promoted) releases. I thank them for that.

I still cherish the dream of a truly original venue, screening one Asian and one Spanish-speaking film at all times – in addition to the rich choice of other foreign language and non-Hollywood selections. I envision an intimate wine bar where one can sit after the show and discuss the evening’s experience with other film-lovers. Invite speakers for commentary before the screening. Supplement popcorn with Dim Sum or whatever other delectable tidbit the nationality of the film might suggest. Play culturally appropriate music. Create a total experience.

I’m told there’s no market. I’m told there’s no money in it. I’m told it’s a labor of love, not profit. I guess that means it’s pretty much dead in this town. I still hold out hope. Maybe I’ll find someone of like mind to join forces. An Off Hollywood and Off the Strip movie theatre……just imagine.