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Dustin Hoffman, Sofia Coppola, James Marsden and Keegan-Michael Key were among the stars who turned up on Wednesday night to support independent film and the opening of New York’s Metrograph movie theater.
The first independently operated movie theater to open in New York City in more than a decade, Metrograph was founded and designed by Alexander Olch and projects archive-quality 35mm film and digital video. The space includes a restaurant (the Commissary), bookstore, candy shop and balcony lounge.
Hoffman — who was accompanied by his son, actor and director Jake Hoffman — stressed the importance of independent film.
“When I came to New York to study, the films that were playing then were not called indies — they were made by studios, but studios don’t make those films anymore,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “Those films are now made by what’s called the ‘indies‘ and they are just as good now as when I was coming up in what was called the golden age of cinema. I love independent films.”
Other indie film fans spotted at the bash include Willem Dafoe, Gretchen Mol, Judah Friedlander and directors John Waters and Jim Jarmusch.
“I’m a film nerd,” Jarmusch told THR. “I love places where you can see unusual films, films that are hard to find, documentary films, 35mm films, digital films. I just like celebrating film. They look like they have excellent taste here. I like the idea of having a bookstore and a bar in a movie theater.”
The guests circulated through the bar areas, restaurant and lounge while short films including Le Vampire, Duck Amuck and Broadway by Light were screened in the theater.
Waters was there to support New York’s newest indie theater as well as the concept of people seeing movies in the theater.
“I’m here because it’s a great new art theater. Independent film is struggling so it’s great to have a new place to show movies,” he said. “People have to keep going to the movies in theaters and not watch them on phones. Of course people can watch movies any way they want, but it’s better to watch movies in a theater. It’s fun to go to the movies in New York City instead of a mall somewhere.”
As for how he assembled the night’s star-studded guest list, Olch, who is a filmmaker too, said he just asked.
“We had an awesome idea to reach out to all of our favorite directors in New York,” he explained. “When we first started bringing some of these directors, our friends in, we told them that we had a Kenotone FP 30 P projector, which is one of the best 35mm projectors that was ever built — they are very hard to come by. When I mentioned that, a lot of them just threw their hands in the air and said, ‘I’m in.’”
Metrograph, which opens to the public on Friday, is set to screen a number of classic and beloved older films in its first few weeks, including The Purple Rose of Cairo, Taxi Driver, Desperately Seeking Susan, An American Werewolf in London, Singin‘ in the Rain and Vertigo, as well as Oscar nominee Carol.
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