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Atlanta Film Festival takes over operations at Plaza Theatre

ATLFF 365 answers local cinema's call for new ownership

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Last November, the Plaza Theatre sent out a cry for help: The vintage repertory cinema was seeking new ownership in the face of the prohibitively expensive cost of converting the theater to digital screening formats, a necessary move as studios are not only ceasing the production of film prints, but also going so far as to destroy film archives. A full digital upgrade would cost an estimated $30,000-$40,000 - money the nonprofit moviehouse doesn't have owners Gayle and Johnny Rej told CL after the November announcement.

The Atlanta Film Festival announced last night after a screening of AKA Blondie that it will be taking over programming and marketing for the Plaza Theatre, effective immediately. This does not mean that ATLFF 365 owns the Plaza: "It's essentially a management partnership. The Rejs own it and we're going to be managing it for them," says Christopher Escoboar, ATLFF365 executive director.

"What Johnny and Gayle started six years ago, which was to save the Plaza, was always a step one. This is the next step in ensuring that the Plaza stays a sustainable and permanent place in Atlanta's arts and film landscape. This is not the job is done; we're a step closer and the festival is trying to be a mechanism in ensuring the plaza's survival," says Escoboar.