Alt cinema: where to get your indie film on

View of the opening night of the 25th Miami International Film Festival, at the Gusman theater in downtown Miami. Photo: Pedro Portal

By Kevin Craft

Enjoying our region’s beautiful weather will always be the activity of choice for most South Floridians. Thanks to several venues dedicated to providing the best that independent and foreign cinema has to offer, Miami and Ft. Lauderdale are also havens of film culture. From renovated silent movie theaters to more intimate venues, there’s enough film to satisfy casual viewers and ravenous film buffs alike.

Miami Beach Cinematheque: The Miami Beach Cinematheque features an eclectic array of film series and helps host several regional film festivals. Located in the heart of Miami Beach on Española Way, the Cinematheque also boasts a coffee bar and an impressive collection of books that can be perused before and after screenings. Founder and film aficionado Dana Keith hosts many of the Cinematheque’s events and can often be found behind the coffee bar concocting delicious, caffeinated beverages. This May the Cinematheque is partnering with Emerging Pictures to screen first run art and independent films in high-definition, making one of Miami’s most beloved cultural institutions a little bit better.
512 Espanola Way, Miami Beach; 305-67-4567. Tickets for non-member are $10; $6 for members and students.

Cosford Cinema:
Located at the University of Miami’s Coral Gables campus, the Cosford features first run screenings of foreign and independent films, special programs and student film festivals. The Cosford regularly screens high-definition recordings of the La Scala Opera series from Milan, Italy. Their screenings generally take place on weekends.
1111 Memorial Dr, Coral Gables; 305-284-4861. Admission is free for University of Miami Students, $8 for the general public and $6 for seniors and students from other universities.

Cinema Paradiso in Ft. Lauderdale:
Cinema Paradiso works in conjunction with Emerging Pictures to feature first run screenings of foreign and independent cinema and special events. Their monthly film and discussion series, Cinema Verite, shows an eclectic mix of independent films. The theater also screens high-definition recordings of the La Scala Opera from Milan, Italy.
503 SE 6 St, Ft. Lauderdale; 954-525-3456. General Admission is $8; $7 for seniors and students pay’ $5 for FLIFF Members.

Tower Theater: Located on Calle Ocho, the Tower is a Miami cultural landmark that opened in1926 as a silent movie theater. Since then the Tower has gone through several renovations, including the addition of an art deco exterior, and provided Cuban refugees with an introduction to American culture through film. Currently under the management of Miami Dade College, the Tower promotes the arts in all their forms by providing special film screenings, lectures and other events.
The intersection of SW Eighth Street and Fifteenth Avenue: 305-642-1264. Price of admission varies.

Gusman Theater: The Gusman opened in 1926 as downtown Miami’s silent movie palace. It currently functions as a venue for live theater, but the Gusman also plays host to film screenings from time to time. Its beautiful interior, balcony seating and large screen make the Gusman the best place to see a film in Miami.
174 E. Flagler St; 305-374-2444. Price of admission varies.

Colony Theater: You can’t walk down Lincoln Road without spotting this magnificent landmark that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Colony primarily hosts live theater but occasionally screens film. Its prime location makes it worth visiting on those few occasions.
1040 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach; 305-674-1040. Price of admission varies.

Standard Hotel:
While it’s best known as one of Miami Beach’s swankiest hotels, the Standard also hosts the Love Life Film Series on Sunday evenings. These films come with a curator and tend to be very avant-garde. The series does not screen films regularly, so check the Standard’s website for scheduling information.
40 Island Ave, Miami Beach; 305-673-1717. Admission to the Love life Film Series is free.

Upper Eastside Garden: Every Thursday evening, the Upper Eastside Garden screens films from the Janus Films canon. This historical distribution company introduced American audiences to international directors such as Bergman, Antonioni, Kurosawa and more. Admission includes picnic mats or seats in the garden, a bag of popcorn and a drink.
7244 Biscayne Blvd, Miami: 305-984-3231. Tickets to Janus Films Night are $7.

Sunrise Cinemas’ Senses Cinema Series:
The Senses of Cinema Series screens the best of contemporary foreign cinema. Hosted by film lecturer Shelly Isaacs, Senses of Cinema screens films at Sunrise’s Mizner Park, Intracoastal Mall or Sunrise Eleven. For scheduling and location information visit Sunrise Cinema’s website. Mizner Park: 301 Plaza Real, Boca Raton; 561-368-7744. Intracoastal Mall: 3701 NE 163 St; 305-949-0064.
Sunrise Eleven: 4321 88 Ave: 954-748-0333. Tickets to all showings are $10 and include a post-film discussion with film lecturer Shelly Isaacs.

Wolfsonian-FIU: Located in Miami Beach, the Wolfsonian occasionally hosts free film screenings that vary in their genre and focus.
1001 Washington Ave, Miami Beach: 305-535-4600.


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