Since 1925, the Dundee Theatre’s gold curtains have been parting for generations of rapt audiences. Originally a vaudeville theater, the venue was transformed into a movie house during the Great Depression as a cost-cutting measure. For the next half century it traded hands, sometimes screening art films, sometimes featuring family fare, and once showing a 118-week run of The Sound of Music, which was eventually halted by a town statute banning raindrops on roses.
In 1980, current owner Denny Moran stepped in and renovated the theater to recapture some of the splendor of its early days. The old vaudevillian stage and dressing rooms still lurk behind the silver screen, counterbalanced by a state-of-the-art Dolby Digital EX sound system and Cyrano de Bergerac smell system. Under Moran's watch, the Dundee Theatre now screens an eclectic mix of art and independent films, cinema classics, and cult favorites.
Since 2005, the Omaha Film Festival, or OFF, has been exposing Omaha movie lovers to little-seen narrative features, documentaries, and short films from Nebraska and around the world. Each year, the festival screens more than 100 films, with many screenings attended by the filmmakers themselves and followed by informative Q&A sessions. Additional panels, lectures, and workshops at the concurrent Filmmakers Conference have featured such accomplished speakers as Oscar-winning Avatar cinematographer Mauro Fiore, Miss Congeniality director Donald Petrie, and Lethal Weapon screenwriter Shane Black. Opening- and closing-night parties draw cinephiles and filmmakers alike to local hotspots for a chance to discuss cinematography or meet the only other person in the world campaigning for a Citizen Kane sequel.