Seven-Screen Art Theater - Woo hoo!
Topic: Film & TV
I've complained about it before on our "About Indianapolis" page -- although we're the 12th largest city in the U.S., when a film opens in limited release, say in 20 or even 100 screens, it never hits here in Indianapolis. For people who love films that can be frustrating, and for fans of the Oscars, it's tough to see some of the nominated films before the awards. Often a smaller or independent film won't be released here until it's taken home a statue. We've needed a larger, newer theater for independent and art films for a long time. The two art theaters in existence in Indy have done great work for a long time, but both are beset with flaws.
Castleton Arts has only three screens and it's last interior revision was in 1991, which means it's a bit shabby and missing some of the recent movie theater amenities, like stadium seating so you can see over the heads of those in front of you, and wider seats to accomodate those of use who've spent a lot of time sitting in theaters instead of exercising.
The Keystone Arts Cinema is independently run, which means they don't have some of the same constraints about what films they bring and you can often see really unique, edgier stuff. On the other hand, they're independently run, which means they don't always have access to films that larger theaters can get. In addition, their location is fairly out of the way for most Indy residents. And their interior is ancient. If Castleton lacks modern amenities, Keystone lacks... well... any. And not to pile on the Keystone Arts theater or anything, but I've attempted to sign up for their email list four times and never ended up getting anything. A simple weekly message in my inbox about current and coming soon films would do wonders in getting me to visit regularly.
So, on to the main point of this article -- the announcement by Simon Property Group, Inc. that Landmark Theatres is going to build a seven-screen theater to feature independent and art films in the Keystone At The Crossing Mall, to open in December.
That's fantastic -- thrilling, actually. Stadium seating, ample seats, digital projection, a bar that serves theater goers, plus a full selection of art films to see.
Except for, you know, where they're building it. Considering the recent announcement of a Crate and Barrel store going into that same Mall, coupled with the already stop-and-go bottlenecked traffic around the only two entrances to the mall on both week days and weekends, I can't imagine how anyone will be able to get to the theater to see anything.
Given the traffic congestion around this mall and around the Castleton mall and around the Allisonville and 37/69 exits, I wonder sometimes (often aloud) whether our city planners actually do any planning of the city. You know, thinking about traffic flow and zoning issues before handing out permits to build stuff like this. Maybe I've just played way too much Sim City, but I envision all the little people in their little cars on 86th street with the little jewels above their heads turning red because they can't turn into the mall.
The other thing I wonder is how the suburban crowd that is the life's blood of the Fashion Mall will react to some of the movies that will be screened here. I'm picturing a "traditional family values" protest already. The Fashion Mall isn't really the mall of choice for the culturally aware in Indianapolis, and I'm not sure they'll brave the location, even to see good films. Sure, Castleton Arts is north of Castleton Mall, but it's possible to get to it without having to actually interact with the people who patronize that shopping establishment.
Even if there isn't a place to put a theater like this downtown, I wonder if there isn't room somewhere further south in the Keystone corridor, where there's a commercial blight going on that needs some attention.
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