The Alamo Drafthouse is one of the main reasons I have made a home in Austin. Before I knew anything about this town, I chanced upon tickets to the QT fest #3. I had never been to a theater like the Alamo Drafthouse. I loved talking movies with film fans and Mr. Tarantino was really quite approachable within the theater’s walls. I became a loyal customer.
As the DAZE has grown, I have spent less and less time there, but I never will forget my roots. These folks have diligently supported our grassroots efforts for a long time. The theaters have expanded. This is a beautiful thing because more folks can experience the Drafthouse and it also means that we never have to give our money to some faceless theater chain again. I make a point to only see films at an Alamo Drafthouse Theater. The folks behind these theaters are true cinema aficionados. The events that take place at and away from the movie house attest to that fact. Here are a few questions that I asked Tim League:
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH IDEA FOR THE DRAFTHOUSE?
We opened our first theater in Bakersfield California in 1994 and ran it for about 2 years. That was where we learned the business from scratch and came up with a lot of the programming ideas that we do now. The business was a total failure, but we were able to
raise enough money to start the theater in downtown, which opened in 1997.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE BUILD-UP OF AUSTIN? I’M SURE IT HAS HELPED YOU GUYS GROW, BUT DO YOU FEEL WE HAVE GAINED OR LOST MORE AS A CITY?
Hmm… In our personal life, we are still pretty centered around the city center. We live in South Austin and spend a lot of time downtown, so we don’t feel a lot of the growth that is happening in the surrounding areas. I have mixed feelings about it. Growth is neither good nor bad, it has it’s own life. It’s great for the town to grow, but I hope we can keep leaders in place who don’t lose track of the spirit of Austin. In the grand scheme of things, I’m a
relative newcomer to Austin, so I am part of the growth. I think that I philosophically am much more aligned, however, with the laid-back Austin of days gone by and I’m willing to fight on the side of those that want to maintain that.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE FILMS ?
I don’t really watch movies over and over. My favorite movies are the ones that I haven’t seen that blow me away, so they are constantly changing. Things I have liked recently are “Old Boy” by Chan-Wook Park and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.”
WHAT HAVE BEEN YOUR FAVORITE EVENTS AT THE DRAFTHOUSE?
I am most proud of the Weird Wednesday series. I think we are developing a sophisticated clientele that respectfully enjoys experiencing exploitation classics
together as a community, watching and enjoying them, not just laughing at them. It’s usually the highlight of my film week. I’ve also been proud to be associated with the QT fests over the years.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST MEMORABLE NIGHT AT THE ALAMO?
Udo Kier’s 10 martini Q&A following “Frankenstein 3-D.” Followed closely by Russ Meyer’s 10 martini Q&A following the second screening of “Faster Pussycat Kill Kill.”
WHERE ELSE DO YOU EAT IN THE CITY?
We go to Uchi once a week or so, I like Smitty’s BBQ in Lockhart and El Regio Pollo on the east side, and we go to Din Ho every couple of weeks. We eat out a lot, but those are our regular haunts.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF GW?
I think he is an idiot and an embarrassment to Texas and the United States.
YOU GUYS HAVE RAISED THE FILM EXPERIENCE TO A NEW LEVEL EVERY TIME I GO. FIRST IT WAS FOOD AND BEER THEN THE QT FEST AND BUTTNUMBATHON, LIVE COMEDY AND LIVE MUSIC, THEN THE ROLLING ROADSHOWS… WHAT NEW CINEMATIC TREATS ARE COOKING?
We are going to recreate Sensurround on two fronts this summer. The first, the spoof from “Kentucky Fried Movie” where someone is standing behind each customer feeling them up, etc. We are going to do that live. Also this summer, we will be recreating the earthquake gimmick along the Balcones Fault with an ear-shattering array of subwoofers.
ARE THERE NEW THEATERS OPENING UP?
We should have new theaters in San Marcos, San Antonio, and South Lamar within the next nine months.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE AUSTIN DAZE?
Love it! I always pick up a copy.
FAVORITE STEVE MARTIN QUOTE?
“You know what your problem is, it’s that you haven’t seen enough movies – all of life’s riddles are answered in the movies.”