Jason Reitman is among a number of Hollywood notables assisting in the renovation of the historic cinema and is donating a 35mm projection system.
At a time when indie cinemas are under seige, Vidiots said Monday it will relaunch in the fall of 2020 at the restored Eagle Theatre in Los Angeles.
The iconic video store turned film nonprofit will return as a brick-and-mortar outlet, in addition to programming the 200-seat cinema in the Eagle Rock neighborhood of Los Angeles with repertory titles and new independent films. The location hasn’t been in operation as a movie theater since the 1990s, while Vidiots’ Santa Monica storefront shuttered in 2017.
“Vidiots relaunching on the cusp of our 35th birthday is a triumph for Los Angeles film history and cements the legacy of Vidiots founders Patty Polinger and Cathy Tauber as innovators in L.A. film culture. Bringing the Eagle Theatre back and providing L.A. with a long-needed new film space is thrilling,” said Maggie Mackay, executive director of the Vidiots Foundation, which houses a library of DVD, BluRay and rare VHS titles.
Jeffrey Birkmeyer’s Analog, a real estate and construction company, helped Vidiots arrange the lease of the theater and will assist in the renovation project.
Katie Aselton and Mark Duplass; Jess Wu Calder and Keith Calder; Emily Cook; Mackenzie Davis; Rian Johnson and Karina Longworth; Phil Lord; Nate Moore; and Morgan Neville are among those already making donations, while Jason Reitman is donating a 35mm projection system.
“Los Angeles should have more movie theaters, not fewer, and Vidiots has come to give all us punch drunk film lovers another place to call home where we can roam the racks. Thank you! So grateful to be a small part of this evolving institution,” Reitman said in a statement.
Vidiots’ future home opened as a vaudeville stage in May 1929 as The Yosemite Theatre. Within a a few days, however, it closed before reopening as an independent silent cinema. Renamed the Eagle Theatre in 1940, it operated for decades before becoming part of the Pussycat adult cinema chain from 1976-1979. It become an independent cinema again in 1983 on through the 1990s before becoming a series of churches.
With almost 10,000 square feet of entertainment and educational space, Vidiots will operate its storefront seven days a week, as well as offering daily screenings and special programs. A smaller, 50-seat theater will be used for screenings, workshops and receptions.
“Vidiots at the Eagle Theatre is a truly exciting and ambitious plan that revolves around our commitment to archival preservation, education, and accessibility, while maintaining and growing our passionate community of film lovers,” added Polinge and Tauber.