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Richard Linklater, Austin Film Society unveil new movie theater plans

A first look at the new arthouse, coming soon

With the collaboration of acclaimed filmmaker and founder Richard Linklater, the Austin Film Society will soon achieve its longtime goal of establishing a full-time arthouse cinema in the city.

AFS revealed plans Tuesday for redesign of the organization’s twin-screen arthouse cinema and event hall, created by Designtrait and Michael Hsu Office of Architecture. Linklater, who founded the film society in 1985 and continues to be actively engaged with it, will collaborate with the local design firms on a venue intended to honor AFS’ vital role in the creation and cultivation of Austin’s unique, active film community, continue its work in celebrating movie-going and filmmaking culture and history, and, of course, screen a lot of movies.

In addition to adding a second cinema to the AFS Marchesa Hall venue, located in Austin’s Highland neighborhood, the space will include an entry vestibule, full-service bar with a featured food menu, as well as a lounge and gathering space. Designers also promise a series of “surprise and delight moments,” including vintage cinema posters curated by Linklater, film soundtrack album covers from Richard Linklater’s personal collection, cinema-inspired light installations and lounge seating, and new marquee signage.

The site will also feature an updated event hall available for private rental. The renovated theater is expected to open in early 2017.