Located in the filmmaking capital of the United States (and arguably the world), American Cinematheque (AC) is dedicated to the preservation and appreciation of the art of cinema in all of its forms. It was created in 1981 as an offshoot of the Filmex Los Angeles Film Festival, with the goal of presenting a wide range of film and video (particularly rare and under-recognized work), creating a continuous dialogue between filmmakers and film lovers, and supporting emergent talents by providing exhibition facilities for independent filmmakers and organizations. In addition to year-round screenings of films of all types, AC presents a number of annual film festivals; it is perhaps best known for the Mods & Rockers Festival of rock culture films, begun in 1999.
The home venue of American Cinematheque since 1998 has been the Egyptian Theatre, a historic Hollywood movie theatre built in 1922 by impresario Sid Grauman. Named because of the Egyptian craze that swept the Western world after the discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb, the Theatre featured the first-ever Hollywood premiere, and has become one of the world’s most famous motion picture houses. Having fallen into disrepair by the mid-1990’s, the Egyptian was sold to American Cinematheque by the City of Los Angeles for one dollar, with the proviso that it be restored to its original splendor. Historic tours of the Egyptian Theatre are available on a regular basis.
The Aero Theatre in Santa Monica, built in 1940, is also a landmark theatre that was acquired and renovated by American Cinematheque. It has served as the organization’s second theatre, catering to the Westside of Los Angeles, since 2004.
American Cinematheque Information
- Other Venue: Aero Theatre (1328 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica)
- Public Transportation: Good for both. Egyptian Theatre (a short walk from the Metro Red Line and buses 156, 212, 217, 312, 656, and 780 at the Hollywood/Highland Station; and a 6-minute walk from buses 2 and 302 at Sunset Boulevard/Las Palmas Avenue). Aero Theatre (a short walk from Big Blue Buses 3 and 41 at 14th Street/Montana Avenue; a 7-minute walk from Big Blue Bus 4 at 14th Street/Carlyle Avenue; and a 10-minute walk from Metro bus 720, and Big Blue Buses 2 and 20 at 14th Street/Wilshire Boulevard)
- Handicapped Accessibility: Good at both venues
- Performances/Programs: Approximately 30 screenings monthly at the Egyptian Theatre, 20 monthly at the Aero Theatre
- Ticket Prices: General Admission $11; Seniors (65+) and Students (w/ID) $9; Cinematheque Members $7
- Membership: Student/Senior ($55); Individual ($65); Dual ($125); Friend ($175); Contributing ($350); Supporting ($600); Sustaining ($1,200); Corporate Membership ($2500). Depending on level, member benefits include ticket discounts; discounts on Cinematheque merchandise; complimentary tickets; a free T-shirt; invitations to private screenings and VIP receptions; acknowledgment in Cinematheque publications; tickets to the Cinematheque’s annual black-tie gala; discounts on theatre rental; and more.