More than five years after a group of Sudburians got together with the idea of creating an indie cinema in the city, it looks like their dream will finally become reality in a few weeks.
The first films will screen at Sudbury Indie Cinema Co-op's new theatre in the former École Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague School gymnasium Feb. 28 to March 3 during the Junction North International Documentary Film Festival.
You can check out the full lineup for Junction North here.
The new cinema, located at 162 Mackenzie St., is scheduled to open its doors for regular film screenings Tuesday, March 5, although just for one day.
The theatre will close for a week as the finishing touches are put on renovations, and it will reopen Tuesday, March 12. After that point, the indie cinema will be open each week on Tuesday and Thursday to Sunday.
Among the films programmed for screening over the next few months are “Falls Around Her” (by Sudbury filmmaker Darlene Naponse), “Shoplifters,” “Free Solo,” “Border,” “Capernaum, “Skate Kitchen” and “Cold War.”
Beth Mairs, managing director of Sudbury Indie Cinema, said it's “thrilling” to finally be at this stage.
“I've been feeling so much stress about the renovations and issues that I think are just typical of renovations,” she said. “But the reality is … we are opening. It's really happening.”
As you might have guessed from Mairs' statement, the renovations have hit a few snags along the way. That includes the wrong lighting being ordered and delivery delays for certain critical infrastructure such as seating.
But Mairs said she's been assured the seating is finally being delivered this week, and the film festival and subsequent regular screenings can go ahead with the temporary lighting in the theatre for now.
“In speaking with the board, I realized, you know, this is really perfect, because it's so indie,” she said.
“We can have the film festival with these temporary lights. We can show films if people have to sit on the riser like they're bleachers. We don't even need the chairs.
“We've been doing Junction North from galleries, schools, library, university classrooms. You know what I mean? That's the origins of our documentary film festival.
“If everything is not perfectly together, even if we didn't have seats, we're going ahead.”
When all is said and done, the theatre will seat 183 patrons, including four wheelchair accessible spots. It will also have a concession stand.
Funding for the project was made possible through grants from FedNor, NOHFC (Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation), and CCO (Conseil de la Corporation de l'Ontario), as well as donations by patrons.
You can learn about Sudbury Indie Cinema Co-op on its website.