The independent movie theatre is alive and well in Columbus, Ohio where discriminating movie goers like to enjoy everything from mainstream films in non-mainstream venues to film houses that show the hottest independent films and documentaries from around the globe.
Known for unique films that are award-winning, possibly in a foreign language and that none of your friends have ever heard of, the Drexel Theatre offers films ranging from the popular (“The Girl who Played with Fire”) to the quietly obscure (Colin Farrell’s latest film “Ondine.”) Since 1981, the Drexel located at 2554 East Main Street, Columbus, Ohio, has secured some of the finest indie and international films and offers an intimate, classic vibe for the filmgoer. In addition to its select array of films, the Drexel hosts a variety of special events including its annual Oscar Party, Casablanca Night and the Summer Kid Movie Fest.
Arrive before the film and venture over to the Drexel Radio Café and experience their fresh caffeinated beverages, cocktails, snacks or full meals. The atmosphere is mix of families, college students and film aficionados. Hours of operation for the café are Monday through Thursday 10 am to 9:30 pm, Friday 9 am to 10:30 pm, Saturday 11 am to 10:30 pm and Sunday 11 am to 9:30 pm.
The Drexel Theatre offers an $8.50 ticket price for Adults, $6.50 for seniors and students. Matinees (before 6 pm) are also $6.50 while Children (12-Under) get in for $6.00. Mondays are bargain days with all seats costing $5.50. Wednesday is Senior Bargain Day and all seats cost $5.00. Special AM screenings with all shows before noon (Friday through Sunday and Wednesdays.)
Located on the campus of the Ohio State University, the Gateway Film Center (1550 North High Street, Columbus, OH) boasts state of the art theatres, a black box theatre featuring smaller screenings and live entertainment and a café filled with sweets, meats and alcoholic treats. The Gateway Film Center brings together a diverse mix of independent, mainstream and classic films for the film connoisseur looking for a hip, cool and unique film-going experience. Current releases like George Clooney’s “The American” mingle side-by-side with less standard fare like the Casey Affleck directed documentary on the life of Joaquin Phoenix “I’m Still Here.”
The Gateway Film Center includes additional opportunities to see rare films during their unique film festivals (upcoming ones include The Not Painful Film Festival focusing on Central Ohio filmmakers.) For a change of late night pace, the Gateway Film Center has teamed up with the Columbus Alive to present Late Night. Beginning at midnight on Friday and Saturday, and 1:30 pm on Sunday, the Gateway showcases recent classic films like “Animal House” and “Mean Girls” as an alternative to the bar scene. In addition they broadcast cool shows like “The Event” and “Mad Men” on the big screen allowing TV Junkies the chance to get off the couch and into the theatre.
Housed with the Gateway Film Center is the Martini Shot Bistro. Order a martini, some popcorn or a grilled Panini while waiting for the film or to discuss the one you just saw. The extra curricular activities include live music on Thursday nights, Trivia game night, Improv performances and Big Screen Karaoke. This gem of a Film Center has it all!
Tickets for films cost $9.00 for Adults, $7.00 for Matinees and $6.00 for Students with Valid ID. Special events and screenings begin at $5.00. For specific cost details contact them via e-mail: http://gatewayfilmcenter.com/contacts/new or call 614-545-2255.
Just a few blocks north of the Gateway Film Center is the Wexner Center for the Arts. The Wexner Center (1871 North High Street, Columbus, Ohio) showcases rare film jewels, thought provoking documentaries and cutting-edge features you’ll likely not see anywhere else in the city. Often filmmakers will be on hand to discuss their work. Upcoming films include the documentary “My Neighbor, My Killer,” about the Hutu slaughter of Tutsi citizens living in Rwanda to a Joe Dante retrospective that features a double bill of his films “Gremlins” and “Gremlins 2” among his other films. The Wexner Center also partners with the Gateway Film Center to bring unique programming to a larger audience. The vibe can be slightly intimidating if you’re not a Columbus coolio, but the pay-off of rare films is worth it.
Most films can be screened by the general public ($7.00,) but being a member does have its advantages as members of the Wexner Center get to see all films for just $5.00 and are offered exclusive viewings of certain movies. Students and senior citizens also get in for $5.00 and children 12 and under get in for $3.00.
Studio 35 Cinema and Drafthouse is a Columbus favorite combining select films (no more than 2 at a time) and a broad selection of brews. Located at 3055 Indianola Avenue in the quaint neighborhood of Clintonville, Studio 35 has comfy seating, pizza and subs and a big screen that feels old-school, but also very modern. Special offerings include the 48 Hour Film Project where Central Ohio filmmakers have 48 hours to create a film. The best are featured in an evening-long screening. Also on tap is the Grindhouse Horrors Series, Beer Tasting and Film screenings and every first Saturday night of the month, a showing of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” General admission tickets are $7.50 for Adults and $5.50 for seniors and students. Special event pricing can be found by calling 614-261-1581.
Remember the days of Drive-Ins? Well that memory can be a reality with a visit to the South Drive-In Theater. A 20-minute drive away from downtown Columbus, the South Drive-In is celebrating its 60th anniversary and is still going strong. For $8.00 per adult (and $1.00 for children 12 and under), attendees can enjoy two films with a brief intermission in between to purchase snacks, go to the restroom or adjust one’s blouse after a hot and heavy make out session. The South Drive-In boasts two screens with sound available through an FM radio station or one of the hanging speakers outside the car window. Grilling is allowed, but must be extinguished by dark and there is no screen hopping.
The South Drive-IN is located at 3050 South High Street and they are open Friday through Sunday. (There is a repeat of the first film on Friday and Saturday night.)
Independent movie theaters abound in Columbus, Ohio where filmgoers enjoy their films with a side of unique décor, a plethora of food and beverage options and a chance to view movies outside of the norm.