Why go and see other people’s films?
Because - “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions.”
― Albert Einstein
We can isolate ourselves in our own little worlds of very, very independent film, but eventually we all have to face the fact that there are others out there who have similar perversions and sometimes it’s nice to know that...
So I thought I would put you in touch with the best places in LA to see Independent Film.
We are pretty blessed in this City of Angels in that there are a whole lot of people just like us that love independent cinema, and not just the so called “35 million low budget” cinema, but the really, really low budget cinema, and the micro budget short film. Independent film must, by definition, be somewhat experimental, even if that means just finding ways to shoot for nothing. And right now, everything is cool…
Here are a few places that recognize that cool…let’s start with a local…
The Laemmle NoHo 7
Our own NoHo neighborhood movie theatre!! This family owned art theatre group has been around for over 70 years, bringing us regular commercial films and a incredible mixture of art house, indie, foreign and very limited release films. I just saw “What We Do in The Shadows”, from the geniuses that brought us The Flight of the Concords. They also host short film festivals and book private events. I’m planning on seeing The Dutchess of Malfi on Tuesday, filmed at The Globe Theatre in London, hardly anywhere shows these films, we are very lucky that a theatre in our neighborhood does, thats for sure!
The Silent Movie Theatre
This is my favorite place to see movies in LA. I found it a couple of years ago while trying to find something lovely to do for my husband’s birthday. I got tickets to see an amazing and completely unreleased film by Gyorgy Palfi. A love story constructed entirely from pieces of films from the directors own video collection. Everything from Titanic to Manhattan to Rear Window and Gigi, which is why it was never officially released I would imagine, and only available at film festivals. A completely recycled movie, and no one was showing it, but The Silent Movie Theatre in hollywood….amazing place, supported by amazing film loving people. Sit on couches and watch films chosen by film lovers and often introduced by the filmmakers too.
The New Beverly Cinema
I just went here for the first time last October when I took my husband out for a surprise for his birthday. They specialize in double features and that night it was a couple of Robin Williams films, he had sadly just passed. The theatre is owned and operated by Quentin Tarantino, so you can’t get more LA than that, and he’s often around introducing yet another screening of Reservoir Dogs. The night we were there Elvis Mitchell, of KCRW fame - a film god - was introducing the movies, the projector was on the blink, and we were treated to a 30 minute lecture on film…not too shabby! This is the only 35mm film only projection theatre in LA, and most of the movies shown are from Tarantino’s own personal collection. The popcorn is cheap and although they don't show a lot of low budget, you can’t beat it for fun and price, two movies for $8!!!
The Downtown Independent
This is a one screen cinema located in the coolest Little Tokyo, in downtown LA. It’s a location for theatre productions and music as well movies and has an amazing rooftop where you can hobnob with your ‘rad’ movie friends while taking in the gorgeous LA skyline and having a beer.
A lovely mixed program of documentary, foreign and of course anime, it is in Little Tokyo after all, it’s a beautifully designed 200 seater gem of a theatre which also masters shorts and features at a great price, if you’re in the market! and you can even rent out the theatre for events and private screenings!!
The American Cinematheque, at The Aero in Santa Monica and The Egyptian in Hollywood.
I’ve gone to amazing screenings at both these theatre. The Aero in Santa Monica is wonderfully retro and a great size. They have just hosted for the 8th year in a row the Annual Screen Student Film Festival. A selection of more than 20 short films made by high school students in the LA area, how fantastic and very, very independent! The Egyptian hosts all kinds of independent events, in January they held the 10th annual Focus on Female Directors event, and I have been able to see shorts screenings and premiers as well as classic films. I saw the original print of My Fair Lady there a couple of years ago, with the only surviving member of the cast in attendance. Its a gorgeous theatre and quite historic, at least for LA, designed by Sid Grumman, who famously also designed the Mann Chinese Theatre. The Egyptian Theatre was the site of Hollywoods first ever movie premier in 1922, ‘Robin Hood’ with Douglas Fairbanks, and hosts the annual TCM film festival. Right now they are having a huge Japanese Anime extravaganza, but I’m holding out for Doctor Zhivago on March 8th….I’m such a romantic!
With all these amazing theatres to choose from, and lets not forget the summer will be here in no time and we can all rush out to see movie outside, classic and crappy, and low budget and no budget, we are really spoilt for choice movie wise in LA, and close to home in NoHo too. But if you can’t find anything you like, go to Vidiotz on Pico in Santa Monica and find everything you like!!!
If we want to go really retro we can go take a visit to the truly unique Vidiotz which thankfully was saved from the brink of extinction just recently by the film lovers of LA. This unique and museum like mecca for movies was started by two women, Patty Polinger and Cathy Tauber in the eighties, is now a nonprofit and serves as an amazing resource for filmmakers and film lovers with their vast library and the encyclopedic knowledge of their staff, you really can go in to this gorgeous place and stay for hours perusing the shelves upon shelves of commercial, and independent film, much of which is unavailable anywhere else and they even have self released micro budget very, very independent movies!!
So there you have it, no excuse for boredom and no reason to ever say, “there’s nothing on that I want to see!!” a famous cry of mine from time to time.
Get out your diary, and get in your car and go and see something different, something extraordinary and something that will inspire you to make something equally extraordinary of your very own!