The Kent Theatre in Flatbush isn't just a movie theater—it's a movie star. A fixture in the neighborhood for many decades, the space was a favorite hangout of a teenage Woody Allen in the 1950s. Perhaps that was the reason he chose the Kent when scouting locations for The Purple Rose of Cairo, his paean to the early, less spaceship-filled days of cinema. The movie house still retains its vintage charm today, welcoming patrons with dramaturgical masks on its marquee and new releases on its three screens.
With an American flag hanging from its brick façade and its name scrawled in red cursive atop an old-fashioned marquee, The Pavilion Theater looks like it sprung from the screen of a 1950s film. But in reality, it stands right in the middle of Brooklyn. The two-story neighborhood picture house combines both of these worlds, whisking away audiences to another era with its quaint charm and sepia ushers while staying current with a rotating roster of newly released films.
Originally called the Austin, this vintage 1930s theater has seen several ups and downs in its history, from years as a second-run double-feature house to a red-tinted stint that got it shut down by the city. In its current incarnation, the Kew Gardens Cinemas flaunts restored art-deco flair alongside modern projectors and molar-rocking surround sound. Stadium seating and a fully stocked concession stand further complement current flicks by granting every set of eyes a great view and every set of dental braces something to hold during scary scenes. Swing by the theater with a friend to snack on your own small popcorns (a $5 value each) and sip sodas (a $3.50 value each) while enjoying a vintage movie-viewing experience that beats watching Betamax tapes on your Great Uncle Vinnie's 1978 Zenith.
The 2011 Brooklyn Film Festival unites filmmakers and filmwatchers for 10 days of cinematic parties and screenings, including more than 100 premieres. Full-festival pass holders receive admission to all fetes and most events, preferred entrance to all showings up to 15 minutes before each picture-show begins, and control of neighboring filmgoers’ ejector seats. Independent movies from across the globe will light up formerly empty screens at venues throughout Brooklyn, namely indieScreen and Brooklyn Heights Cinema, under the theme of "Plot," which focuses on the cultural and political actions of people, nations, and scheming pieces of land.
The community of journalists and experimental filmmakers behind UnionDocs isn't content to just record something and assume it's the truth. Rather, as The Brooklyn Rail suggests, it tackles the larger questions of "what it means to tell true stories, and how to document them." Every year, UnionDocs hosts more than 100 nonfiction events, ranging from film screenings to oral histories, all focused on under-represented subjects such as incarcerated musicians in Louisiana. Following presentations at the "intimate" space—so dubbed by Time Out New York—the creators behind that night's work stick around for a discussion with the audience.
Besides showcasing the works of others, the crew at UnionDocs tirelessly produces nonfiction of their own. The organization's website constantly updates with critical writing, interviews, and videos, while its workshops—such as a free filmmaking course for LGBT youth—cater to budding artists. Production meetings, seminars, and screenings spark inspiration every week, as do frequent master classes, critiques, and how-I-take-my-coffee seminars with visiting artists.