Living Room® Theaters at FAU serve students by day, residents by night
By Diane Feen
BOCA RATON — There’s a bit of Europe in Boca Raton. It’s not a wine bar or clothing boutique, it’s a state-of-the-art movie theater called Living Room® Theaters.
Located on the FAU campus, the four small theaters (they seat 50) are dedicated to making the experience of film watching pure pleasure. There are oversized leather chairs, great sound projection and the feeling of intimacy that you normally don’t find in conventional movie theaters.
And that is intentional. “We’re trying to change the way people go to the movies, we’re revamping everything,” said CEO of Living Room® Theaters, Diego Rimoch. “We wanted it to be cozy and comfortable with great sound and picture. Most theaters just show whatever the studios send, but we wanted to shift the paradigm and be more involved in the booking process.”
That is exactly what the Rimochs (a father and son team) are doing. They specialize in bringing independent films, foreign films, documentaries, as well as exposing new filmmakers and art films. And in a city not known for its advanced cultural offerings, the Living Room® Theaters are a breath of fresh air.
“This is the best kept secret in Boca Raton,” said one excited theater-goer. And she is right. The small intimate space is like having your own home-theater, only with a café (out front) that serves you food at your seat. It really has a European flavor with a hint of New York’s best art film houses.
Diego’s father Ernesto is a legendary (and award-winning) film maker in his native land of Mexico. The first Living Room® Theaters opened in Portland, Oregon in 2006 and were the first all-digital theaters in the country. The FAU Living Room® Theaters opened in November of 2010.
What also makes this new venture – housed in the new Culture and Society Building on the FAU campus – so exciting is that they are being used during the day by FAU’s film study program in the School of Communication and Multimedia Studies. Students get to study film in a real cinema setting and in the late afternoon and evening the theaters open up to the public for great movies such as the recent documentary about the life of Bill Cunningham, the Russian film “My Perestroika” and upcoming films such as “How to Live Forever” and a comedy, “The Trip.”
“This is a very exciting opportunity for our faculty and film students,” said Susan Reilly, director of FAU’s School of Communications and Multimedia Studies. “Faculty will collaborate on special film series, and students will learn how to operate cinemas, how to write film reviews and how to introduce foreign and independent film to new audiences.”
The theaters have 22-foot-wide screens, acoustic wall panels and the latest audio and projection technology. It’s also the first and only all-digital theatre on a university campus.
The European-style café out front makes you feel like you’re in a cultural oasis where you can order gourmet food, specialty coffees, beer and wine. This way movie going doesn’t have to be such an austere act of individuality, it can become a social experience as well.
“With our freshly prepared food and wine delivered to your seat you can have the perfect night out,” said Diego. “We want people to come and stay a while, not just watch a movie and leave; it’s a whole new movie-going experience! We wanted to change everything we didn’t like about movie theaters – from the film selection to the lobby the ambiance, food, seating and service.”