by Pamela Cole
Lithonia, GA, Dec. 6, 2006 --
As promised by owners Lee and Robin May, Cinefé 8 theater
on Panola Rd. has reopened after a three-month shutdown. This is
good news for independent theater fans who also witnessed the demise
of El Cine Mireles in Marietta and the sale of the historic Plaza
Theatre around the same time that Cinefé 8 shut its doors.
(See Independent Theaters Struggling
According to Cinefé 8's new marketing director, Chris Cornell,
"The theatre reopened in October with a new format and discounts
for patrons. The new screening format will allow moviegoers to view
"sub-run" movies, which are films previously released
4-6 weeks earlier, for a reduced ticket price of $3. Cinefé
8 also offers a special $1.50 discount showing every Tuesday."
and wife team Lee and Robin May (both graduates of Atlanta's Clark
University) opened the 8-screen theater as "Cinefé 8
Cinema & Café" last year, claiming to be one of
the few African-American owned theaters in America.
"Like any new business, we thought really big about coming
out with new releases and at the same time renovating to make it
a cinema and a café," said Cornell. "But we really
didn't have the sustained capital to keep up with the big boys,
the AMCs and the Regals, so we had to close our doors to revamp
and rescale with the second run movies." Cornell added that
they would "continue with the renovation, moving forward with
our business plan, while at the same time, making sure our doors
"Our goal is to renovate one theater in '07 and hopefully
the rest within two years. With at least one theater renovated,
our plan is to do special events, parties, community activities."
Cornell says that Cinefé 8 wants to be more than a theater
-- it wants to be a community gathering spot where people can come
and see diverse entertainment including movies, plays, and other
"We have a couple of independent films coming, and we really
want to create that niche where you get a community, diverse feel,"
said Cornell, who used to host "Reel Talk" at Cinefé
8 -- an act that included a poet, a comic, and a singer with a live
band. "We might have a film festival, or even a play, so that
people can feel like, when they come to our theater, they find all
kinds of diverse entertainment."
In December, the theater is showing two independent films, both
with a Christian theme: Color of the Cross (that portrays
Jesus as a black Nazarene, persecuted because of his radical interpretation
of the Torah) and One Night with the King (the Old
Testament story of Esther).
"We are trying to maintain a family image. The previous theater,
before Lee and Robin took over, had a very negative rapport, being
the local dollar theater. People would just come into that theater
and do whatever, and the community still has a stigma about it.
So we want to let the community know that, now this is a great environment,
and you can bring your kids and watch movies. If you're a church-going
person, you can come see Christian movies, or you can also come
and see the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Anyone can come
to Cinefé 8 and it's the same clean environment, and they
can have a good time."
In addition to indie films, Cinefé 8 is currently showing
Ant Bully, Barnyard, Crossover, Gridiron Gang,
The Grudge 2, and The Marine -- looking for
that diverse audience.
Currently, the theater offers regular concessions instead of the
café items available before (pizza, chicken wings, and desserts).
But that café is still in the business plan.
For more information, see www.cinefe.com.