Don't get too excited here. Yes, this is a Friday, and yes that header says it's "Day 1" of my monthly trip into the Gothamist Interview, but this is a bit of one-and-we're-done this month ... at least for the time being. That is, come Monday, I won't have another one for you. Come a week from Monday, however, is another story.
But today's interview is running for a very special reason. At long last, after much discussion and a few delays, New York cinephiles get to spend even more time figuring out where the hell they're going to see yet another movie. Today is opening day for the IFC Center, on the site of the formerly Waverly Theater on 6th Avenue at 3rd Street, and if you want to read a little bit about what you can expect from the latest entry into the arthouse, repertory, revival New York City movie theater circuit, then you'll want to get clicking over to Gothamist to read Lily's and my interview with John Vanco.
John has been a fixture on the New York film scene for quite a while, most notably as the co-founder and head of Cowboy Pictures. John has a true passion for cinema, something that totally comes out in his interview. It sure as hell seems like the IFC Center couldn't be in better hands.
Meanwhile, I actually had the opportunity to visit the IFC Center a couple weeks ago and get a sneak peak. They were still putting some last touches on some of the construction, especially things like wall treatments and light fixtures, but I must say that this place looks like it was worth the wait. The main theater holds 220 and is in the actual space that used to be the Waverly. The original walls of the Waverly (actually, of the building that was a church before it became a theater) still stand, beautiful exposed brick surrounding you, and a 60 foot high ceiling that seems to disappear into darkness. The most remarkable thing about this theater is how intimate it feels. At the Regal Battery Park (the main venue for the Tribeca Film Festival, two of the theaters hold roughly 240 seats, yet they both feel pretty massive -- certainly much larger than this beautiful main house at the IFC Center which in capacity is only smaller by 20.
There are two more theaters upstairs, one holding 120 and the other (I believe) 70. Each theater (as well as the main one downstairs) has small individual design characteristics, with brand new (and pretty comfortable) seating. John told me that audience flow is going to dictate what films get put into which houses, but it's obvious that the new releases (like Miranda July's Cannes Camera d'Or winner Me and You and Everyone We Know which opens the new complex today) will start and probably spend the most time in the 220 house with the holdovers and programmed features screening in the two upstairs theaters.
For those thinking that the three screen set-up, featuring one premiere screen, one rep/revival screen and one screen for holdovers sounds a lot like Film Forum, well you're right. And if you read this site, you know how much I love Film Forum. But Vanco is definitely putting his own programming stamp on the IFC Center, and it seems really exciting. Plus, as much as I love Film Forum's programming, it's not exactly the most comfortable space, and none of the screens are particularly large. While I didn't actually see any projection or hear the sound in any of the theaters, the screens are all of a pretty good size, and the seating is very comfortable, plus all the projection and audio equipment is (I've been told) state-of-the-art and top-of-the-line, with HD projection available in each theater as well as digital audio.
It's really a great new complex, and even though the stretch of 6th Avenue on which it sits has become a very strange and different part of the Village, unlike anything around it whatsoever, I hope the IFC Center becomes a landmark film institution for years to come. I know I'll be spending plenty of time there.