Saving a historic landmark!
The abrupt closing of the Tara Theatre by Regal Cinemas last November was a call to action for Christopher Escobar, owner of the historic Plaza Theatre and executive director of the Atlanta Film Society. Within a few months, he purchased the business and founded the Friends of Tara Foundation that raised $50,000 for new equipment, fixtures and furnishings for the 55-year-old arthouse. He credits Kenny Blank, executive director of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, and Jack Halpern, chair of Halpern Enterprises Inc. that owns Cheshire Square Shopping Center, with negotiating the new lease.
More than 1,000 people attended events surrounding the grand reopening on May 25. “It was like a family reunion with a bunch of people you don’t know who are as excited as you are to be here,” Escobar says.
Getting it ready to open was a mad scramble to renovate the space that had been stripped bare of furnishings, fountain equipment and even poster cases, and suffered from years of deferred maintenance. “Midcentury modern furnishings fill the lobby, along with antique cinema relics and historic photos donated by cinephiles in the community,” he says. The new equipment includes projectors in digital and 35- and 70-millimeter formats.
The Tara has a Friday through Thursday schedule of arthouse and independent films in four theaters named for key contributors to the reopening and preservation.
THE TARA THEATRE
Award-winning Ghostwriter, Journalist, Content Creator.