The Screening Room To Get Major Upgrade And Show Films 7 Days A Week!
June 26, 2014
by James J. Jefferies
As previously discussed in this space, Downtown Tucson has a lot of great choices for people wanting to catch screenings of classic or art house films, with places such as the Fox Tucson Theatre, Cinema La Placita, and Exploded View. All terrific options, especially during the toasty summer months when either an ice-cold air-conditioned indoor movie experience or an outdoor evening flick just seems like a great excuse to kick back with a big box of popcorn and some of your closest friends or that special someone.
If there’s one thing Downtown Tucson has become known for, especially during this fast and ferocious rebirth, it is completely unexpected pleasures. Few people could have ever imagined someone like Chris Bianco choosing the Old Pueblo as the home for his incredibly high-profile new Pizzeria Bianco location, or that we’d become an outpost for eateries espousing innovative food movements such as ‘farm-to-fork’, as practiced by highly-regarded neighbors Proper and Diablo Burger.
Our rapidly expanding urban core has become a hive of ingenuity, a place where bold thinkers and people who don’t necessarily want to do what all the other guys are doing are feeling increasingly empowered to break the mold, and are being inspired by the vibe being generated here. From Maker House to Xerocraft, there’s an undeniable DIY-spirit within the community that is completely infectious in the best possible way.
In another great example of thisf phenomenon, The Screening Room, which has long been host to the Arizona International Film Festival, will be receiving a massive overhaul, after which the theater will be equipped with brand-new seating, state-of-the-art digital projection, radically revamped sound, and 3D exhibition capabilities, all thanks to an alliance with Grand Cinemas, which operates the Oracle View theater north of Tucson Mall.
However it won’t be a cookie-cutter multiplex experience showing first-run films. There will be a regular flow of recent films shown, and The Screening Room will occupy the same physical space, remaining at one screen. After a brief chat with Grand Cinemas’ own Kent Edwards, who will be overseeing this renovation, it sounds like The Screening Room will be transformed into an innovative venue with consistent film offerings, but also free to do some exciting new things you wouldn’t necessarily see tried at the mall.
“One thing we’ve talked about is the idea of having screenings where the filmmaker, in another part of the country or world, could actually Skype in and participate in a Q & A with the audience members,” said Edwards. This would come in particularly handy during an event like the Arizona International Film Festival, which features films from auteurs from all corners of the globe. “We can also see offering operas and other events for people to watch on a Sunday, as the venue will have an excellent (updated) sound system,” said Edwards.
Right now, the timeline for when the exact reopening will occur is unclear, as there are a number of variables still undetermined. “We’d like to be open by August, when all the students are back,” said Edwards. The theater will also eventually be offering craft beer and wine, a process which will take longer to get City approval, but the pieces are definitely on track to come together for what will be an excellent and ground-breaking new option for cinephiles in Downtown Tucson. We’ll be following The Screening Room’s progress with an update when they reopen, and you can look for that right here.