For a few more weeks, anyway. The cinema, thought to be DOA after a change in operators earlier this month, effectively got a stave of execution thanks to the New Orleans Film Festival, explains longtime manager Brian Jones. Quietly, Canal Place has continued screening films to record-low crowds on its regular schedule throughout September. "I would say that we're showing more films," Jones says, adding that Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story, which opens Friday, will do so with an extra matinee.
Custody of the funky, beloved film house transferred in early September from Los Angeles-based Landmark, its operator for the past 21 years, to locally owned Southern, which runs the Grand Theatre 16 in Slidell. The decision was made to keep screening through the NOFF (Oct. 8-15), and new films have continued shipping to Canal Place unbeknown to most, apparently. "My first five phone calls today were: 'Hello, are you open?'" Jones says.
The cinema will indeed close after the festival for a full-scale renovation, Jones reaffirms, adding a fifth screen and provisions for a drafthouse-like setup with food, beverages and more comfortable lounge seating. As for an ETA on the reopening, Jones is appropriately vague-yet-cinematic: "Spring 2010," he says, hands outstretched.