In late May director Richard Linklater saw a vision he’s had for more than thirty years come to life when the AFS Cinema opened in Central Austin. The two-screen theater, created by Linklater in association with the Austin Film Society, focuses on art-house, international, and classic films; this month, among numerous other offerings, it will revive a 1982 West German horror film, screen a new documentary about the jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan, and host an “Old School Kung Fu Weekend.” Intended as a haven for both serious film buffs and regular moviegoers, the venue will feature a full bar and a lounge area for post-movie confabs. Scattered throughout those common areas are several items from Linklater’s personal collection of memorabilia. “We wanted the cinema to be warm and welcoming, and to emanate our devotion to film,” he says. Here are Linklater’s descriptions of a handful of the items.
"I have a large Polish film poster collection. In the nineties, I met this Polish guy who had been a UT film student and was making money flying back and forth from Poland to the U.S. The wall had just come down, and he was buying all these posters for a quarter and selling them here for fifteen to twenty bucks. They’re worth hundreds of dollars each now. The artwork is so unlike Western movie posters. In the U.S., it’s the movie star’s face and the name and when it opens. There, they let artists express themselves. Some of them are pretty dark, pretty scary," Linklater says.
Assistant manager Nate Leland pours one of the theater's many draft offerings.
AFS Cinema's box office and snack bar.
"Each year at the Texas Film Awards, AFS inducts an iconic Texas movie into the Texas Film Hall of Fame. In 2009 we honored Rushmore, and Maker’s Mark made custom bottles featuring the cast. This is Wes Anderson’s bottle, so we’re holding on to it until he’s back in Texas."
"We’re going to have a lot of film books and things like that. This book has an original 70-mm frame from 2001: A Space Odyssey. It was only in the [first print run], but I ended up with one of those."
"I’m kind of in love with Cyd Charisse. If I ever feel down, I just look up and think, 'How bad can life be? She’s kicking her leg up!' I love that movie so much."
A selection of 35-mm film canisters hanging out in the projection booth.
"Since few studios manufacture film prints at this point, it’s important to have a projection system that keeps film prints pristine. We will always show as many movies as we can on film as long as there are good prints."
"When I did all the programming for AFS in the early days, I started taping the heads and tails [the stock footage at the beginning and end of a movie reel] of every film we showed. I had a couple hours of footage and eventually started printing out individual frames and building sequences that became part of much bigger collages. This one is called Countdown/Tailout Mural #2. It belongs to the permanent collection of the Museum of the Moving Image, in New York, but the AFS has it on loan."
The entrance to one of AFS cinema's two theaters. The venue is also home to an event hall.
A look inside Theater One.
A view of the lobby's chandelier and curtain. The curtain was carefully draped by a local production designer in order to evoke the feeling of a classic movie palace.
The Austin Film Society paid great attention to seating, installing brand new seats in Theater Two and refurbishing the Marchesa's original seats in Theater One.