Movie-goers, rejoice: A new art house cinema with major film ties will open in Austin in 2017. This week, Austin Film Society provided a first look at the plans for a new twin-screen theater, a collaboration between acclaimed director Richard Linklater and two top design firms.
"Opening a full-time art house theater has always been part of the organization's vision," and is a "dream come true," said Linklater, AFS founder, in a statement.
He is working closely with local heavyweights Designtrait and Michael Hsu Office of Architecture to redesign the space at 6226 Middle Fiskville Rd., formerly known as the Marchesa Hall and Theater.
It officially transformed into the AFS Cinema in March 2016 but will close in October for the overhaul. In early 2017, AFS will debut a new name, programming lineup, and look. The massive makeover includes a new lounge area, full-service bar, marquee sign, updated event hall, and an additional cinema, bringing the total to two screens.
"Designtrait and Hsu are our ideal design partners for this project," said Linklater. "They have elevated the vision with their creativity and depth of experience and shared and delighted in our passion for film, finding ways to express this in the design. Best of all, they are Austinites who want to support AFS in making something great happen for the community."
"Richard has been at every design meeting, thoroughly thinking through the design," said Becky Jeanes of Designtrait. Linklater is putting his personal touch on the space too. Personal additions include vintage movie posters curated by the director and soundtrack album covers from his collection.
AFS has secured $1.5 million in funding for the project; the nonprofit hopes to raise an additional $600,000 this fall.