Film buffs across six states stare wide-eyed at large cinema screens, losing themselves in first-run Hollywood movies and the smell of fresh, buttery kernels within Your Neighborhood Theatre's 17 locations. Though all theaters prioritize comfortable seating, old-fashioned friendly service, and high-stakes preshow trivia slideshows, each location encompasses its own distinct charm, be it through arthouse décor, 3-D screens, or Rhode Island's vintage 1950's drive-in setting.
For six days, a celebration of culture takes over Providence. The annual SENE Film, Music & Arts Festival gives a voice to independent creators of cinema, music, and visual art?as well as audience members themselves. Attendees vote for their favorite shorts, documentaries, and feature films in dozens of categories. They can even meet the artists behind the works during director Q&A sessions where they can learn how the film was made and why Smell-O-Vision has never really taken off. The Limelight party allows guests to relax and mingle with other creative types while admiring an art exhibit and enjoying hors d'oeuvres, complimentary beer and wine, and light desserts.
A non-profit film series, newportFILM sparks cinematic discourse in the Rhode Island community with independent programming. The organization aims to invigorate the filmmaking and film-loving communities with a festival spirit year-round, hosting themed mini-festivals on topics such as animals or the environment. Films travel to a variety of theme-appropriate venues, from summer showings under the stars to atmosphere-heavy historic theaters renovated to include high-tech A/V equipment but retain their old-fashioned scratch-and-sniff popcorn-scented seats.
Flagship Cinemas showcases new-release films in 11 theaters peppered across seven states, equipping each of its 103 screens with stadium seating and digital surround sound. Beyond providing family-friendly entertainment for more than 15 years, Flagship Cinemas strives to maintain a reputation as the "neighborhood theater" by ensuring each location has a presence in its surrounding community through contributions to local organizations. Flagship Cinemas also builds camaraderie with customers by offering free birthday visits and distributing fanatic cards, which guests can use to earn rewards such as free film tickets or an autographed photo of their favorite usher.
Four evenings a week between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m., the interior of BJ Eyebrow Threading transforms into Bollywood Dance. The space becomes lively as instructors guide students through flashy, rhythmic regional Indian routines, many of which emulate the song-and-dance entertainers in Bollywood films. Students can also learn dances set to folk and Western Indian music or opt for dance-aerobics classes that increase heart rates and help people shake off any parrots that have landed on their shoulders.
It started in 1981 as "The Newport Film Society," and by 1983, it had become the area's very first international film festival. Today, the tradition continues under the moniker of Flickers: Rhode Island International Film Festival. Despite the change in name and audiences' evolving tastes in popcorn, the event's mission remains constant: to showcase features, documentaries, and shorts by independent filmmakers from across the globe. Ranked as one of the top 10 short film festivals and top 10 international film festivals in Chris Gore's The Ultimate Film Festival Survival Guide, RIIFF is also among the few such events recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to qualify short films for Oscar gold.