First Look

Sneak peek inside Austin's new art house movie theater before it opens

Sneak peek inside Austin's new art house movie theater

AFS Cinema 2017
AFS Cinema opens to the public May 26. Photo courtesy of Austin Film Society
AFS Cinema 2017
AFS is unveiling major renovations.  Photo courtesy of Austin Film Society
AFS Cinema 2017
Posters and other memorabilia from Richard Linklater's collection adorn the walls. Photo courtesy of Austin Film Society
AFS Cinema 2017
A revamped menu from chef Peter Klein offers easy-to-eat food and a great beverage lineup. Photo courtesy of Austin Film Society
AFS Cinema 2017
The lounge-like lobby offers AFS merch. Photo courtesy of Austin Film Society
AFS Cinema 2017
Combined, the two theaters can accommodate almost 450 people. Photo courtesy of Austin Film Society
AFS Cinema 2017
The original theater will continue to show 35 mm films. Photo courtesy of Austin Film Society
AFS Cinema 2017
The new cinema is equipped to host anything from movies to live events. Photo courtesy of Austin Film Society
AFS Cinema 2017
AFS Cinema 2017
AFS Cinema 2017
AFS Cinema 2017
AFS Cinema 2017
AFS Cinema 2017
AFS Cinema 2017
AFS Cinema 2017

On Friday, May 26, Austin Film Society will open the doors to its new art house movie theater at 6226 Middle Fiskville Rd. Ahead of the premiere, CultureMap has a first look at AFS Cinema.

The property, formerly Marchesa Hall and Theater, officially transformed into the AFS Cinema in spring 2016, but it closed last fall for a major overhaul. Updates include a new lounge area; full-service bar; marquee sign; updated event hall; and additional cinema, bringing the total to two screens.

Designtrait and Michael Hsu Office of Architecture teamed up with AFS founder and acclaimed director Richard Linklater to redesign the space. The goal was to make AFS Cinema a destination for casual moviegoers and film buffs alike.

The new lobby is "the kind of place you choose to linger," says Hsu. Inspiration came from textures and colors of older cinemas, giving the modern space a nostalgic vibe. Linklater added a personal touch by donating vintage movie posters and soundtrack album covers from his own collection.

Chef Peter Klein, along with WHM Hospitality consultants Bill Mann and Jorge Hernandez, has crafted a menu of items that are easy to eat in the theater, including sausages from Smokey Denmark, cheese plates from Antonelli's, and specialty popcorn. The bar will feature craft beer, signature cocktails, and coffee.

AFS maintained Marchesa's massive event space too. The nearly 5000-square-foot venue is equipped to host AFS events and private events, everything from corporate meetings to weddings.

Movie programming will include premieres, classic flicks, documentaries, curated series, and more, every night of the week. The first series, dubbed Texas Film Christening, will feature five classic Lone Star flicks: Rio Bravo, Tender Mercies, August Evening, Sugarland Express, and The Last Picture Show (which includes an introduction from Linklater).

Tickets are now on sale for May and June screenings.