Why Cinestudio is a must for Film Buffs in Hartford Ct

At one time going to the theater was an experience in itself. Not just the movie, but the atmosphere. Theaters were places were you could spend a day for very little money and feel like royalty. The red carpets, velvet red seats, and decorative walls made you feel like you were somewhere special, somewhere magical, somewhere where dreams came true. Today, you throw down twenty dollars for tickets for two, another twenty for pop and a snack, and you sit in a crowded room with sticky floors to watch a reel of commercial advertising. In Hartford Connecticut, however, the dreams are still alive at Cinestudio.

Cinestudio is more than just a theater; it’s a movement of nostalgic remembrance. Created in 1970 by a group of students on the Trinity College campus it captures the ambiance of the thirties film palaces with its gold Austrian shade, which rises before each film, and its 485 seat balcony. The floors of the Cinestudio are adorned with red carpeting with a golden lion insignias inspired by Hartford’s own Katharine Hepburn from the film “The Lion in Winter.” This insignia has become the trademark of the theatre and is featured on its literature and displayed prominently on its website.

As the story goes, in 1969 students hung two sheets in an unused basement of the Chemistry building for their own private viewing of a film. The next year two more sheets were added for a wide-screen reel they’d obtained and things just grew from there. Today, the Cinestudio features cult classics like the Rocky Horror Picture Show along side new commercial films as well as independents. Once a lecture hall in the Chemistry building it has become its own non-for-profit organization;, independent from the school who’s grounds it shares. Since 2002 Cinestudio has been incorporated.

James Hanley and Peter McMorris, who are two of the founding members, run the operation with the help of fifty student volunteers. Beyond the everyday fare other movie house will portray Cinestuido hosts many film festivals annually, including eyeball (a student film festival) April in Paris, and the Connecticut Gay & Lesbian Film Festival.

At a time when all that seems to exist is megaplexes, when even those original classic movie houses sit unused and abandon all across the nation, a place such as Cinestudio is a truly rare find. For $8 a ticket you can see a variety of films that span many generations of cinema in a theater that remembers how to treat its patrons.