Emily Henderson

News Editor

Deputy Editor

Living in the heart of the movie making industry definitely has its perks. Being able to see the stars of your favorite stories; being in the hustle and bustle of the creative force of the business; and much, much more. But one of my favorite aspects of living in Los Angeles is that everyone loves movies. There is a fervent infatuation with this art form, leading many to screen their favorites in order to show their love with the world. This affection can lead to the holy grail of Southern California– the numerous indie theaters and screenings that are available!

In the world of remakes, biopics, and the superhero franchise built not on the love of art, but the promise of money, one may be looking for the authentic movie experience. People want to see real movies that have love behind them! That is where screenings of classics, the arthouse, and everything in between comes in. Let’s take a journey through Los Angeles to stop by all of our favorite theaters! Let’s all go to the movies!
Our first stop on our tour starts off on a high note. Located in-between Beverly Hills and La Brea (aptly named Beverly La Brea) and opened in 1978, we have The New Beverly! Nicknamed the New Bev by many (myself included), this single screen theater plays classics ranging the grindhouse genre to family films on Sunday afternoons. The theater had been owned and operated by Sherman Torgan, and then taken over by his son after his death in 2007. But from then on, the award-winning filmmaker and benefactor of the New Bev, Quentin Tarintino, bought this place under his name. This ushered in a new era for the theater, bringing in the major change of projectioning the screenings on 35 mm film. Tarintino states that “I want the New Beverly to be a bastion for 35mm films. I want it to stand for something. When you see a film on the New Beverly calendar, you don’t have to ask whether it’s going to be shown in DCP or in 35mm. You know it’s playing in 35 because it’s the New Beverly.” The director made many improvements to the New Beverly, while still keeping the heart of the establishment intact. The love of movies permeates the walls of the New Bev, with Tarintino himself supplying many of the film prints screened from his personal collection. While not exactly from his collection, I saw a screening of Kiki’s Delivery Service from Studio Ghibli at the New Beverly, and it was magical. Seeing your favorite movie in 35 mm on the big screen is an experience unlike any other. 

 This month, the theater is supplying a plethora of spooky favorites for film lovers of all ages. Some highlights include a Matthew Lillard double feature of Scream and Scooby-Doo; an IB-Tech print of Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo and of Robin Hardy’s The Wicker Man; a director’s cut of The Exorcist; and on Halloween night, a triple feature of Jacques Tourner I Walked with a Zombie and The Leopard Man, and Mark Robson’s The Ghost Ship. So if you are looking for a theater owned by a film lover for film lovers, look no further than The New Beverly. 

The next stop on tour takes us out of Los Angeles County for a little bit, to head over to the wonderful city of Santa Ana. The city is known for its love of the arts, so there is no better place to house The Frida Cinema. Named after the iconic Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, this theater houses the spirit and love of art that permeates the painter. The Frida specifically quotes the painter’s struggles, and how people use art as a way of expression from that pain. “Where for some this would have been enough to lose oneself to despair, Kahlo turned to art to communicate her physical suffering, as well as her passions for Mexican politics and for the love of her life, Diego Rivera…” The theater aligns the views of the iconic painter with how they view film as an art form. “When we set out to open The Frida Cinema, we aligned our mission to two core commitments – we would never compromise on our vision, and we would never give up… We were steadfast in adhering to our mission, and inspired by both the Mexican and Artist communities that call Downtown Santa Ana home, we christened ourselves after a hero in the arts that we could look up to, and find strength and inspiration in, for those moments where we would certainly need it.” 

A huge aspect of the Frida is bringing the artists to the art. Just recently, the Frida hosted a screening of the horror film Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon with an in-person Q & A with the director Ana Lily Amirpour! This allows young filmmakers to get insights into the process of their favorite films, inspiring the next generation. The theater also hosts a free outdoor movie event in Birch Park every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month! This allows the community to have access to classic films, where it might not be able to be seen beforehand. For the spooky season, the Frida Cinema will be hosting the films that inspired the work of acclaimed director Guillermo del Toro! In the park, they will host a live band while people file in, a brief introduction, and then the feature film! The theater will host Creature from the Black Lagoon on Oct. 6; Frankenstein on Oct. 13; Bride of Frankenstein on Oct. 20; and Dracula in Spanish on Oct. 27. Gates open at 5 p.m, and it is first come, first serve! The Frida Cinema believes in the importance of art, and they keep that at the core. So if you are a budding filmmaker, come to the Frida Cinema to express your love of film as a community. 

The movie-making business has also gotten into the idea of screening non-blockbuster movies as well! The Academy Museums of Motion Picture on Wilshire Blvd and Fairfax Avenue is a museum put together by the (actual) Academy in order to show the filmmaking process. I got the opportunity to go to the museum in April of this year, and it was awe-inspiring. Being able to see props, costumes, sets, and every other aspect of the filmmaking process up close was so inspirational, and made me excited to start shooting my own short film! The Academy allows special screenings in their home theater, which can also bring in famous filmmakers to showcase their work! The theater is housing a few of family matinees, specifically from the animation/ stop-motion company Laika. They will be screen films like Kubo and the Two Strings, ParaNorman, and Coraline to name a few. The theater also houses a special series of films. For example, through Oct. 27th, the Academy Museum theater is hosting “Mexico Maleficarum: Resurrecting 20th Century Mexican Horror Cinema”. Some of the films include El Vampiro with Cronos; El Espejo de la Bruja with El Mundo de los Muertos; and La Maldición de La Llorona with Veneno para las Hadas. There is an emphasis on rediscovering films that have been ‘shelved away’ due to the prolific bigotry in the film industry. Being able to see films that could have been lost forever on the big screen is an experience you can not miss out on. 

Shhhhh… can you keep a secret? Located in over four different areas around Los Angeles is the elusive Secret Movie Club. Screenings occur at the Glendale Sears Parking Lot; the Vista Theater; the Club on Bay Street; and the Million Dollar Movie Theater Palace. Started in 2016, the Club says that their mission is to “screen great movies of all kinds (on film as often as possible) in great theaters to great audiences. [They] have worked to build a local and virtual worldwide community where movie lovers and movie makers can connect, watch great movies in theaters and get the audience experience, and just celebrate cinema.” This club has everything. They pick their films and locations based on the seasons, and for the spooky month of October, they have some great picks. They have classics such as 1933 (and the recent remake) of The Invisible Man, with a Q & A portion with screenwriter Leigh Whannell on Oct. 22 at the SLC Theater. There will also be a screening of the 1922 Nosferatu with a live score done by the Jack Curtis Debowsky Ensemble on Oct. 28 at the Million Dollar Theater. The Secret Movie Club is Los Angeles’ best well-kept secret. 

Los Angeles is the center of the glitz and glam of Hollywood’s greatest stars. But what happens to them when they die? Most celebrities get buried at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, but the place truly comes alive at night. Not by the dead– but by living. Beginning  in the summer and staying until the end of autumn is the notable Cinespia. Cinespia, created in 2002 by John Wyatt, has amassed a cult following in LA. Crowds (celebrities included) flock to one of their four locations across the city, to watch the films they know and love. Locations include the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Los Angeles State Historic Park, multiple “historic movie palaces” in DTLA, and the Greek Theater. Movie-goers are allowed to bring their own food and watch the film outside picnic style. The organization also encourages watchers to dress up in costumes according to the film, bringing the movie even closer to the individual. There is usually a DJ throwing a before film dance party, photo shoot areas, and vendors all around the premise. It’s a party at Cinespia! A party worth…dying for?

Los Angeles is known for the movies. These two key concepts are central to the notion of this city. And the city does not disappoint. In a world where capitalism is taking over in the film industry, there is still a glimmer of hope that people care about the art. Places like the New Beverly, the Frida Cinema, Secret Movie Club, and Cinespia are just a few of the theaters that care, truly care about the love that films can bring. So buy your tickets, get some popcorn, and let’s all go to the movies!

Featured Image Courtesy of Emily Henderson / Quaker Campus

Authors

  • Quaker Campus

    In collaboration by Quaker Campus staff members.

  • Emily Henderson

    Emily Henderson is the Assistant News Editor for the Quaker Campus. She is a second-year English Creative Writing major with a Film Studies minor. When trying to relax from work and school, she likes to read epic fantasy novels, watch cartoons, go to Disneyland, and drink unhealthy amounts of tea.

In collaboration by Quaker Campus staff members.

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