O Cinema to Open Outdoor Movie Theater in Wynwood
Tabsch and Marthell turned an empty warehouse space in Wynwood into a movie house in February of 2011 with the help of the Knight Foundation. Only a little over a year later, in October of 2012, they established a satellite theater at the Miami Theater Center in Miami Shores. Now, O Cinema founders propose to continue growth at its home base in what Tabsch is calling the "O Cinema Upgrade" -- a plan that's dependent on the Knight Arts Challenge funds for which the theater is a finalist.
The heart of the plan includes a new projection system. "Fully integrated, probably 2K DCP system that will really put us in play with all of the other theaters, both indie and mainstream, around the country who have made the jump to the new technology," says Tabsch. DCP stands for Digital Cinema Package. The 2K refers to the amount of pixels that the run the width of the screen. That's 2,000, the same high-definition image that has replaced 35mm film projectors at multiplexes.
With the versatility of the higher definition system at O Cinema comes a larger screen, surround sound, and improved sound-proofing, Tabsch said. "So it's really a complete overhaul of the auditorium," he notes and adds, "At the end of the day, we are an indie cinema that found a niche for itself inside a warehouse, so there are some space limitations, but we are constantly working on ways to improve, and this is certainly one of them."
Tabsch said O Cinema also needs this system to appease audience demand for higher profile indie and art house films. "We've heard oftentimes from our patrons, there's particular films like The Master, like Moonrise Kingdom that they wanted to see, and they wanted to see at O Cinema, but the reality is our technical setup has not allowed that to happen."
The other aspect of the proposed O Cinema upgrade plan would allow O to convert a large storage room situated behind the theater space into a proper screening room that should seat somewhere between 30 to 40 people, notes Tabsch, making the cinema a two-screen venue. Tabsch hopes that this second venue will allow the art house to bring in more films that would otherwise not reach Miami audiences. It would also provide room for more retrospectives like the recent Stanley Kubrick retrospective that saw many a sold-out night and required encore screenings. "It's going to allow us to double if not triple the amount of films we bring in annually," he said of the proposed second auditorium.
In the end, for O Cinema, it's not about size or grandeur but about providing as many channels as possible for as many people it can reach via the cinematic experience. Says Marthell, "It's bringing different people together in front of one movie and how, no matter where you are or who you are, you connect with the scenes and experiences in the film, so that's always been the basis of what we do."
Follow Hans Morgenstern on Twitter @indieethos.