The Film Community Insiders
The Alamo Drafthouse is the most culturally branded theater in the country. This film community has allowed the Drafthouse to expand their vision well past Austin, with theaters in Kansas City, New York, and Virginia to name a few. At SXSW, Tim League CEO of the Alamo Drafthouse and Drafthouse Films got together with Eric Vespe of Ain’t It Cool News and Hadrian Belove of Cinefamily to talk about building a community for film.
The panel talked a lot about building that film community and how important it was. Even though League didn’t start off looking to build a community, he certainly has. Drafthouse fans are dedicated and hardcore and have been since the beginning. League talked about how at the beginning of his movie theater owning days he started Weird Wednesdays, a midnight free screening of bizarre films. The same core group of people started showing up time and time again. From there he expanded into more areas of interest.
League has taken some heat over the years, however. At one point he decided to show a film that featured a man killing a cat as the main plot point. People weren’t happy.
“Apaprently there’s a lot of people that like cats,” League said.
But he defended his decision to show the film, saying that the debate came down between what was art and not art. League still believes he was right.
The group also talked about technology, and the future of these film communities. Belove saw his audience as becoming even more catered to, with membership status and everything. League talked about the Drafthouse’s new Victory program that rewards the loyalty of fans.