Cinema group plans theater in Happy Holler

Betty BeanUncategorized

Once upon a time there was a movie theater in Happy Holler.

Could it happen again?

Yes, say a group of ambitious local film buffs who have kicked off an effort to open Central Cinema, an indie movie theater/neighborhood cinema next door to the Time Warp Tea Room in the 1100 block of North Central Avenue.

“We have an agreement to take over the Tai Chi Society’s building, which used to be a movie theater from 1916-1955,” William Mahaffey said in a Facebook post Sunday. “We plan on doing a wide variety of films, including family matinees every weekend and Saturday morning cartoons with a cereal bar.

“We’re reaching out to everyone we know in the community to find anyone who might be interested in helping make our theater happen.”

Mahaffey heads up the annual Knoxville Horror Film Fest, which started in 2009 and has grown into a nationally recognized, annual event. The group also hosts film events during the year. He said he envisions that the theater could also be used as an event space on weekdays.

“But we’re much more excited about the opportunity to facilitate partnered screenings, where we can put our space and booking capabilities in the service of local communities, organizations or even individuals who want to host a public film event. This could be as simple as covering film rental fees in order to see a favorite film on the big screen, but we also plan to arrange screenings of more consequence, whether it’s a benefit event, the gala premiere of a self-produced film, or a chance for one of Knoxville’s minority communities to share in watching its life and culture reflected onscreen in a way the multiplex doesn’t offer.”

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