The space the original Alamo Drafthouse theater once called home is on the rental market.
In the heart of Austin’s Warehouse District, the second floor space at 409 Colorado St. was most recently used as a nightclub. But longtime Austinites remember the space as the original location of their favorite movie theater chain. Tim and Karrie League opened the first Alamo Drafthouse in the space in 1997, and it remained there for 10 years until moving to the Ritz Theater on Sixth Street due to high rental costs in the Warehouse District.
“Uses include creative office, bar, restaurant, nightclub, brewery, theater, comedy club, day spa, entertainment venue, gaming venue, bocce, arcade, cocktail lounge, ping-pong social, bowling, musical performance, music venue, corporate event space, art gallery.”
But those 8,100 square feet won’t come cheap. The Downtown Austin Alliance lists the lease rate at $34 per square foot per year, which means you’ll have to shell out $275,400 a year (that’s $22,950 a month) if you’d like to turn the space into your next business venture. Not to mention they’d like you to commit to a long-term lease of five, seven or 10 years in order to rent the space. No big deal.
Just this weekend, in a galaxy that’s real, real close, some movie fanatics learned their voices were more powerful than they could have possibly imagined.
Butt-Numb-A-Thon — that’s the off-the-wall film marathon masterminded over the years by film buff Harry Knowles, Drafthouse founder Tim League and Kristen Bell — was held this past weekend at Alamo Drafthouse. According to Knowles, attendees at this year’s 18th edition unwittingly attended a voice-over session Sunday for the eighth episode of the “Star Wars” franchise.
That’s right: Johnson asked a bunch of film geeks to scream into his phone and said the noises will make their way into the next intergalactic “Star Wars” adventure. (Besides “Rogue One,” of course.) Plenty of folks in the audience backed Knowles up on Twitter, too.
So, @rianjohnson just pumped up the BNAT audience by having us cheer & hiss, recorded it. "Next year you'll all be in a Star Wars movie."
(Straight up editorializing: This is a terrific idea.)
The Alamo tradition of “Baby Day” — screenings on weekdays for parents with infants — is now becoming “Alamo for All.”
The new “Alamo for All” are sensory friendly screenings open to all ages, including infants and adults and children with sensory or cognitive issues such as autism. Like its “Baby Day” predecessor, at these specially designated screenings the house lights are left a little brighter and the sound is turned down a little lower, plus:
• The feature film will run without preshow and without trailers.
• Moving around the theater and noise will be allowed.
• Latecomers will be permitted.
The use of cell phones or other nonessential devices, however, will still be discouraged.
“Alamo for All” screenings will be found not just on weekdays, but on weekend mornings as well. Check out https://drafthouse.com/program/alamo-for-all for up-to-the-minute list of screenings as well as full details on sensory friendly policies. The page will also link to upcoming Open Caption screenings for the hearing impaired.
Birth.Movies.Death editor Devin Faraci has stepped down from the Alamo Drafthouse-owned magazine following allegations of sexual assault made by a fellow film critic.
“This weekend allegations were made about my past behavior,” the Los Angeles-based Faraci said in a statement reprinted in Variety. “Because I take these types of claims seriously I feel my only honorable course of action is to step down from my position as Editor-in-Chief of Birth.Movies.Death. I will use the coming weeks and months to work on becoming a better person who is, I hope, worthy of the trust and loyalty of my friends and readers.”
Birth.Movies.Death managing editor and Fantastic Fest social media director Meredith Borders posted the following on the BMD site: “I’m sure many of you have heard that Devin has stepped down as Editor-in-Chief of Birth.Movies.Death. I’m here to assure you that the site and magazine will continue, with a team of smart, passionate writers dedicated to bringing you the best in pop culture news and conversation today. Devin built this site into something we’re proud to continue and grow in his absence.
“We are a community, and you are a crucial part of that community. We’re eager to move forward, together, with all of you.”
Faraci replied: “@spacecrone I do not remember this. I can only believe you and beg forgiveness for having been so vile.”
Tim League tweeted that afternoon: “I take this seriously and have taken Devin offline until we sort through this,” though that tweet was later deleted.
Other complaints about Faraci soon appeared on Twitter.
@Spacecrone commented Tuesday morning on Twitter: “Some of you may already have seen that Devin has stepped down from his job. After talking with @timalamo, who was extremely supportive, it sounds like he is genuinely interested in getting help. I’ve let them know that I am available to be a part of whatever accountability process is part of Devin’s recovery. Am I happy all of this had to happen? No. But I am really relieved that something constructive seems to have come of this. I think we could all use this time to reflect on the myriad ways we give people free passes for harmful actions. And I hope anyone who has gone through something similar might look at this and see that you’re not frozen in that moment.”
Fons PR, the Drafthouse’s representatives, declined requests to comment.
Tim Burton brings his adaptation of “Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children” while Don Coscarelli, architect of the Phantasm series, delivers the world premiere of “Phantasm: Ravager” and a “remastered” print of “Phantasm” reps for Fantastic Fest announced Tuesday.
The 12th edition of the Drafthouse-based, genre-focused festival runs Sept 25 to 29.
Fantastic Fest also broke out the first wave of screenings, inlcuding a block of new and repertory South Asian features, including director Anurag Kashyareap’s cut of his violent 2016 picture “Psycho Raman,” the centuries-spanning epic “Magadheera” and the stylish Bollywood gangster film “Khalnayak.”
“We are celebrating not only Bollywood but also Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam cinema, said Fest programming head Evrim Ersoy. “highlighting the kaleidoscope of textures and content that is as wide and varied as the subcontinent itself.”
The special screening of “Phantasm: Remastered” which will stream live to art house theaters across the country celebrating Art House Theater Day Sept.24. Coscarelli will be joined in attendance with cast members and “Ravager” director David Hartman.
Alamo Drafthouse’s film collectibles arm Mondo will also be participating with poster, apparel and soundtrack releases made exclusively for the screenings.
Fantastic Fest is also partnering with Los Angeles virtual reality studio Dark Corner to world-premiering Guy Shelmerdine’s VR film “Mule,” his follow-up to “Catatonic,” which will also screen. Look for Justin Denton’s two-part horror piece “Burlap,” which is both a two-dimensional short film and an immersive VR experience. Audiences can watch the short film, then step inside the story with “Burlap: Reflections,” where they will experience the killer’s sinister obsession firsthand.
Everything Is Terrible! bring work to Fantastic Fest for the first time with the world première of their latest assemblage of found footage, while legendary exploitation filmmaker James Bryan (“Lady Street Fighter;” Don’t Go In the Woods) will be on hand to world-premiere his never-before-seen VHS-era horror movie “Jungle Trap.” Shot in 1990, the film was shelved unedited and without a musical soundtrack, but has finally been cut and scored a quarter century later.
Check out first wave film lineup below (and let us know what you think):
24X36: A MOVIE ABOUT MOVIE POSTERS
World Premiere, 83 min
Director – Kevin Burke
Through interviews with art personalities from the past four decades, 24 x 36 examines the birth, death and resurrection of illustrated movie poster art.
A DARK SONG
World Premiere, 99 min
Director – Liam Gavin
Sophia is a determined young woman who hires a weird occultist to perform a ritual which will risk not only their lives and souls, but also the very essence of their being.
Switzerland, France, 2016
US Premiere, 91 min
Director – Tobias Nölle
Aloys Adorn is a lonely private investigator who, after the death of his father, finds himself sucked into a mysterious “telephone walking” game with a mysterious woman who might be his only hope.
United States, 2016
Texas Premiere, 158 min
Director – Andrea Arnold
Andrea Arnold’s first US feature follows 18-year-old Star as she leaves her home in Oklahoma and goes in search of adventure, adulthood and America.
BELIEF: THE POSSESSION OF JANET MOSES
New Zealand, 2015
US Premiere, 89 min
Director – David Stubbs
The true story of the Wainuiomata exorcism provides the basis for David Stubbs’ striking debut feature, a documentary exploring the tragic death of Janet Moses in a traditional Maori exorcism ceremony.
US Premiere, 81 min
Director – Julien Leclercq
It’s bad men face versus worse men as thieves face off against dealers in this super slick French heist thriller from the director of Chrysalis and The Assault.
Laos, France, Estonia, 2016
World Premiere, 100 min
Director – Mattie Do
After moving to the city, a poor woman realizes her recently blinded cousin can not only commune with the dead, but they can provide a path to much-needed wealth.
North American Premiere, 87 min
Director – Abraham Forsythe
In the aftermath of massive race riots, two carloads of dim-witted alpha males set off to defend their respective territory with outrageous results in this sharp edged Australian satire.
THE DWARVES MUST BE CRAZY
World Premiere, 92 min
Director – Bhin Banloerit
A Thai village of little people is attacked by evil, butt-munching, fart-tracking Krause spirits – floating heads with attached intestines – in this slapstick horror-comedy.
North American Premiere, 103 min
Director – Sébastien Marnier
After burning out in Paris, Constance returns to her home town only to find herself in lethal competition with a younger girl for her old job.
United States, 2016
Texas Premiere, 53 min
Director – Dean Fleischer-Camp
A family’s home movies document a desperate crime, and the subsequent bid to escape the consequences in this impressionistic meta-fiction born from the manipulation of hundreds of hours of innocuous uploads to YouTube. An extraordinary feat of editing, a provocative parable of the pursuit of happiness and a disturbing demonstration of the mutability of the stories we share in the Internet age.
THE GREASY STRANGLER
United States, 2016
Special Screening, 93 min
Director – Jim Hosking
Ronnie fears his first love affair is turning his father into a bloodthirsty monster who’s covered in grease and has an 18-inch penis that looks like a dead chicken.
JUNGLE TRAP : Presented By Bleeding Skull
United States, 1990/2016
World Premiere, 80 min
Director – James Bryan
Exploitation demigod James Bryan’s massively entertaining, decapitation-fueled shot-on-video horror masterpiece about a jungle hotel haunted by kill-crazy ghosts in loin cloths, shot in 1990 and unreleased until THIS VERY MOMENT.
Repertory Screening, 190 min
Director – Subhash Ghai
Ballu is an unrepentant gangster who has dedicated his life to the celebration of villainy. He is a bad, bad man and not ashamed one bit. However, with the help of his mother and a sympathetic cop, Ballu will rise above his circumstances to gain satisfying redemption.
Repertory Screening, 157 min
Director – S.S. Rajamouli
Harsha, a dirt bike racer, lives for thrills. One day he crosses paths with Indu, a girl with whom he feels strangely connected. Through this bond, Harsha discovers his hidden identity: a reincarnated warrior king.
MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN
United States, 2016
Special Screening, 123 min
Director – Tim Burton
From visionary director Tim Burton, and based upon the best-selling novel, comes an unforgettable motion picture experience. When Jake discovers clues to a mystery that spans alternate realities and times, he uncovers a secret refuge known as Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As he learns about the residents and their unusual abilities, Jake realizes that safety is an illusion, and danger lurks in the form of powerful, hidden enemies. Jake must figure out who is real, who can be trusted, and who he really is.
Texas Premiere, 95 min
Directors – Florian Heinzen-Ziob and Georg Heinzen
In the heart of Mumbai, behind the screen of one of the last Hindi Film cinemas, lives Sheik Rahman, the city’s last painter of film posters. This is his story.
PHANTASM: REMASTERED (1979)
United States, 1979
Special Screening, 88 min
Director – Don Coscarelli
One of the most influential and important horror films of all time, Don Coscarelli’s Phantasm returns to Alamo Drafthouse’s screens in a gorgeous 4k remaster.
United States, 2016
World Premiere, 87
Director – David Hartman
The fifth and final film in the classic Phantasm film series, Phantasm Ravager follows our intrepid everyman hero Reggie on his quest across dark dimensions as he struggles to confront and vanquish the sinister Tall Man.
The Netherlands, 2015
International Premiere, 85 min
Directors- Erwin van de Eshof & Martijn Smits
Festival favorite Huub Smit (New Kids Nitro; New Kids Turbo; Bros Before Hos) stars as a Dutch cop raised on far too many American action films in this outrageous action comedy.
US Premiere, 127 min
Director – Anurag Kashyap
Raghavan is a cop: brutal, violent, and drug-addicted. Ramanna is a criminal: psychotic, unpredictable, and vicious. It’s only a matter of time before they meet and when they do, Mumbai’s slums will be colored deep crimson.
SALT AND FIRE
North American Premiere, 93 min
Director – Werner Herzog
Herzog’s most wildly unpredictable film, Salt and Fire is a meticulously slow burning, quasi-ecological thriller punctuated by moments of the lyrically poetic and the inexplicably, outrageously absurd.
S IS FOR STANLEY
North American Premiere, 82 min
Director – Alex Infascelli
Alex Infascelli’s documentary about Emilio D’Alessandro, Stanley Kubrick’s personal assistant for more than thirty years, which provides never-before-seen insight into the private auteur.
World Premiere, 90 min
Directors – STEVEN KOSTANSKI & JEREMY GILLESPIE
Trapped in a hospital with a handful of people, a small town sheriff finds himself caught up in the demented plot of a death-obsessed madman.
WE ARE THE FLESH
Texas Premiere, 80 min
Director – Emiliano Rocha Minter
Somewhere within a ruined city, a man makes an offer to a pair of siblings who wander into his abandoned building: food and shelter in exchange for building a strange room…
Russia, France, Germany, 2016
US Premiere, 87 min
Director – Ivan I. Tverdovsky
Natasha is a lonely, middle-aged woman who still lives with her mother and feels insecure about her tedious life… until she grows a tail.
The Alamo Drafthouse released a statement regarding the closure of its South Lamar location Sunday. The company writes:
Late last night, a staff member who has been with the Alamo Drafthouse Lamar for nearly a decade was killed in an accident. We have closed the Lamar theater for the day so that the rest of the team can be with their families and friends. If you have tickets for today, we will automatically be issuing refunds to everyone later this week. If you purchased through Fandango, they will have to issue the refund. If you have any questions, please email email@example.com. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Alamo Drafthouse Village has closed this week so crews can complete a quick renovation project.
When the theater, at 2700 W. Anderson Lane, reopens Friday night, it will have new seats and new carpeting, among other upgrades, the Austin-based chain said.
Alamo Drafthouse Village, post-remodel, will feature theaters that are set up similar to ones found at newer locations, with several small tables in each row, instead of one long table that runs the row’s entire length.
The host does indeed contrast the experience of going to the Drafthouse with staying home “and just Netflixing and chill.” Kudos to Tim for keeping a straight face. I sure couldn’t have because I am 12.
He remains a very big Bernie Sanders fan. This is the first time he’s felt fully engaged in politics in a long time.
Earlier: AMC Entertainment’s CEO Adam Aron, who has headed the company for about four months, said this week that he may allow texting in movie theaters as part of an effort to attract younger audiences.
“When you tell a 22-year-old to turn off the phone, don’t ruin the movie, they hear please cut off your left arm above the elbow,” Aron said in an interview with Variety magazine.
But today, Alamo Drafthouse founder and CEO Tim League issued a news release stating the he disagrees with Aron.
“Innovation in this direction could seriously hurt our industry,” League wrote.
See below to read League’s full statement.
First off, I’d like to say that I am very excited for Adam Aron to be taking the helm at AMC. I am a fan of the Starwood Hotel and Resort brand and the customer experience that his former company consistently delivers. Bringing that leadership focus to our industry will undoubtedly yield positive results and drive healthy, innovative competition.
That said, I disagree with his statements on texting in a movie theater. Innovation in this direction could seriously hurt our industry.
My first objection stems from cinema’s relationship with directors and producers, the content creators. Auteurs focus for years to complete their films. We as exhibitors rely completely on these creators for our content and have an unwritten obligation to present their films in the best possible way: on a big screen with big sound and a bright picture in a silent, dark room. You can only be immersed in a story if you are focused on it. If while watching a film you are intermittently checking your email, posting on social media, chatting with friends, etc., there is no way you are fully engaged in the story on screen. I find that to be disrespectful to the creators, those who make the very existence of cinema possible.
My second objection stems from the generalization of millennial behavior.
“When you tell a 22-year-old to turn off the phone, don’t ruin the movie, they hear please cut off your left arm above the elbow. You can’t tell a 22-year-old to turn off their cellphone. That’s not how they live their life.” – Adam Aron, quoted in Variety.
22-year-olds aren’t alone; heavy cell phone use is far more widespread. Today, 68% of U.S. adults have a smartphone, a staggering increase from 35% just five years ago.
I spend a great deal of my life on my phone, too. I check news, social media and email obsessively. If there is the slightest of lulls in my day, a 20 second pause in an elevator, for example, I impulsively break out my phone and check something. I always carry an external battery because I can’t make it through the day on the standard power. I am not alone. According to some reports, the average American checks their phone over 100 times a day.
This isn’t just a millennial behavior, it is a global attention span epidemic.
Regardless of your age, turning off your phone and focusing on a good movie is much-needed therapy. This time of focus in a darkened room is core to the experience of cinema. Only with this focus can you lose yourself completely in the story and really fall into the magic spell of the movies.
Plenty has already been written about glowing screens and unchecked chatter driving people from the cinema experience, so I won’t belabor that point further. And I’m fine with “second screen” experimentation with regards to alternative content, gaming, interactive screenings, etc.
But when it comes to our core business, creating a special environment for our customers to experience new stories for the first time, there is absolutely no place for the distraction of a lit phone screen.
At the Alamo Drafthouse we are actively engaged in trying to make sure cinema remains a compelling destination for young people, and I agree this should be a focus for the whole industry. I just don’t believe that this line of experimentation is the right tactic. A firm policy against talking and texting in the cinema is about respect: for the filmmakers and fellow cinephiles of all ages.
Outside of this issue, however, I look forward to being challenged and inspired by what innovations and enhancements Adam Aron brings to the cinema experience.