Indie Filmmakers Take Over Texas Theatre Promising a Mix of the Classic and New-Fangled

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The original announcement came back in May: The Texas Theatre, threatened by the wrecking ball as recently as the mid-'90s, was on the road to recovery as a revival house -- a much-needed, much-welcomed addition to the local cinemascape. At present, the Texas is closed for much-needed, much-welcomed renovations with September 30 down as the reopening, with the return of Return to Giant for one night only.

Following that, the Tuesday-night line-up through November is a dizzying collection of reel classics and otherwise overlooked gems, among them Touch of Evil, Harold and Maude, After Hours, Bonnie and Clyde and, even, Jesus' Son. The theater's operators have also promised upcoming monthly film series devoted to the likes of Akira Kurosawa, Jacques Tati and Alfred Hitchcock, and in November is the Blood Bath Horror Film Festival, details forthcoming. A full schedule follows on the other side.

But this is just the beginning of the new beginning for the Texas: This week the Oak Cliff Foundation handed over the Texas to its new operators, Aviation Cinemas, Inc., so named in honor of the theater's original founder, Howard Hughes. Aviation's three pilots are are fully licensed: There's Adam Donaghey, an indie-film producer with St. Nick, Lovers of Hate and Clay Liford's works on his filmography; director Barak Epstein (Prison-A-Go-Go!, Blood on the Highway); and Baptist General Jason Reimer, who's been programming the Texas since its spring premiere.

The trio promise big things -- the ability to project from 8mm all the way widescreen digital, say, and a full-service bar separated from the theater by a soundproof wall. And, come a January re-relaunch, they hope to more or less turn the Texas into the Oak Cliff Inwood, sans the couches and multiplex goo that's taken over the old arthouse: "Following the grand opening," says a release sent out this week, "phase two will consist of remodeling the balcony by possibly turning it into two additional screens (ala the Inwood Theater in Dallas), remodeling additional areas for lounge space and installing a digital cinema 2K and 3D projector." Yes, please. The full announcement follows.


DALLAS, TX (August 31, 2010)--The Oak Cliff Foundation has officially handed the keys to the historic Texas Theatre over to Aviation Cinemas, Inc., a newly formed movie theatre company with the expressed goal of renovating the theatre by installing a 35mm changeover system, tweaking the existing digital projection system to meet I-Cinema compliance, and installing a new adjustable 40 foot screen. This will allow the theatre to screen movies of various exhibition formats, utilizing state of the art equipment. The large screen will be moveable to allow for other kinds of entertainment including plays and concerts. The old school style film changeover system will allow the Texas to screen repertory film prints that would not normally be allowed to be spliced together on a platter. Additional exhibition for small format films and filmmaking will be supported by the addition of 16mm and Super 8mm projection. Plans also include constructing a concession stand and a separate full-service bar in the main lobby and soundproofing the area between the theatre and the bar.

"Phase one is to get the theatre in good working condition in order to exhibit films in traditional and digital formats," said Barak Epstein, President and CEO of Aviation Cinemas. "Long term goals to restore the theatre to its original condition still exist; but in order to realize those goals we've got to be on par with competing theaters. Attracting audiences is the only way this theatre will survive."

Aviation Cinemas, named in honor of billionaire Howard Hughes, who financed The Texas Theatre in 1931, is the brainchild of award-winning independent filmmaker, Barak Epstein. Epstein has been scouting potential spaces in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for several years. Following the Oak Cliff Foundation's involvement with the Texas Theatre led him to his first opportunity.

Award-winning Independent film producer, Adam Donaghey, is Vice-President and CMO. "Barak and I have been looking for the next project to team up on," said Donaghey, who's produced several films alongside Epstein, "and when the opportunity to be a part of a movie theatre with the kind of history the Texas has, I jumped all over it."

Creative Director for The Oak Cliff Foundation, Jason Reimer, will stay on as a part of Aviation Cinemas, continuing to head up programming and book shows. "When Barak came to us with his ideas for the Texas Theatre, " says Reimer, "I knew instantly he was the right fit. Coupled with Adam's ability to scout the latest and greatest on the indie film market, will make for some quality programming."

While the theatre has content booked through the rest of the year, beginning in October, including the Texas Blood Bath Film Festival in November, the grand opening of the new Texas Theatre is scheduled in January 2011. Following the grand opening, phase two will consist of remodeling the balcony by possibly turning it into two additional screens (ala the Inwood Theater in Dallas), remodeling additional areas for lounge space and installing a digital cinema 2K and 3D projector.

The Texas Theatre is currently booking independent films, concerts, theater programs, parties and events. Book your event by calling: 940-391-5899

Upcoming Shows

Following are a selection of confirmed shows

all dates subject to change

* Thurs. Sept. 30 - encore showing of Return to Giant (w/ dir. Kirby Warnock)

* Tues. Oct. 5 - Touch of Evil (dir. Orson Welles)

* Tues. Oct. 12 - Harold and Maude (dir. Hal Ashby)

* Tues. Oct. 19 - After Hours (dir. Martin Scorsese)

* Tues. Oct. 26 - Bonnie and Clyde (dir. Arthur Penn)

* Tues. Nov. 2 - Last Days of Disco (dir. Whit Stillman)

* Tues. Nov. 9 - Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (dir. Sam Peckinpah)

* Tues. Nov. 16 - Jesus' Son (dir. Alison Maclean)

* Nov. 13/14 - Blood Bath Horror Film Festival

Coming Soon:

* Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and the Magnetic Fields

* Adventures of Power

* Until the Light Takes Us

* Life During Wartime

Featured Directors of the Month Series:

* Akira Kurosawa

* Jacques Tati

* Alfred Hitchcock

Corporate Bios

Barak Epstein earned a degree in Radio, Television, and Film from the University of North Texas and afterwards moved into independent film production, distribution and Film/TV technology sales and consulting. As film producer, Barak has completed five feature films, which have played at film festivals throughout the world and have international distribution. Recent films include BLOOD ON THE HIGHWAY, which was released internationally in 2009 and EARTHLING, which premiered at SXSW 2010. Barak also works as a senior production consultant at Videotex Systems and has several start-up ventures in various stages of incubation including Film Out Releasing, an alternative independent film distribution company, and Texas MicroCine, a co-op and resource for small format filmmaking in north Texas.

Adam Donaghey, President and founder of Zero Trans Fat Productions, is an award-winning independent film producer from Texas. His work has been seen at festivals and special screenings all over the world and have international distribution. Adam's latest projects are Independent Spirit nominee Bryan Poyser's LOVERS OF HATE, picked up by IFC Films, and Clay Liford's MY MOM SMOKES WEED, both of which screened at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival; Frank V. Ross' AUDREY THE TRAINWRECK and Clay Liford's EARTHLING, both premiered at the 2010 South By Southwest Film Festival. He recently wrapped principle photography on Clay Liford's WUSS and Eric Steele's UNCERTAIN, TX, and is currently in pre-production on Michelle Mower's PREACHER'S DAUGHTER.

Jason Reimer is a composer and filmmaker responsible most recently for the multi-media group History at Our Disposal (creative capitalism). Reimer's also been a member of Ghostcar and the Baptist Generals (Sub Pop), and recorded music for Bridges and Blinking Lights, The Angelus, Raised by Tigers and Center Divider. In 2001 he founded Pyramid Scheme art collective, producing records and art shows for various regional artists. Since 2002 Jason has scored soundtracks for various films, including Dennis Lee's Academy Award-winning short, JESUS HENRY CHRIST, as well as producing his own installation shorts. Currently, Jason is filming VESPA GIRL with his newly formed Pyramid Scheme Production Group.

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