Maine Film Center, the parent organization of the Maine International Film Festival (MIFF), held each year in July, announced on Tuesday its plan to purchase Waterville’s Railroad Square Cinema. The Maine Film Center’s purchase of the two-theater cinema – aided by a private donation from Colby College – will be complete in mid-December.
“Waterville has an incredible wealth of film resources, including one of the most well-known art house cinemas in the country, an internationally known film festival, and a new Cinema Studies Program at Colby College,” said Shannon Haines, executive director of the Maine Film Center. “The goal of Maine Film Center is to bring these resources together in a strategic way to firmly establish Waterville as a vibrant center of film exhibition and education.”
Railroad Square, which opened in 1978, has been one of the Northeast’s most visible art house cinemas for decades, and was one of the original 12 cinemas selected to participate in the Sundance Film Institute Art House Project. It shows between three and five first-run independent and art house films each week; it’s currently showing “Anna Karenina,” “A Late Quartet,” “The Sessions,” “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” and “Holy Motors.”
Maine Film Center’s plans for the cinema include the purchase and installation of new industry-required digital projection equipment, set to be installed in January; cosmetic improvements to the theater; increased special programming, and new audience cultivation initiatives. Haines said that Maine Film Center also aims to preserve the qualities that have made Railroad Square Cinema a part of the Waterville area community since 1978.
In January, Maine Film Center will also launch a new Monday Night Movies series at the Waterville Opera House, where the organization recently installed 35mm film projection equipment as part of the Opera House renovations. The series features four of the top 50 films of all time as voted in Sight and Sound magazine’s 2012 poll and will kick off with Alfred Hitchcock’s classic “Vertigo” on January 28. Memberships to the new non-profit cinema are available online at railroadsquarecinema.com.