Enter Indie Film

a movie audience
A great way to wind down on vacation is to take in a movie

By: Shayne Benowitz

Sometimes the best way to wind down while on vacation is to spend a few hours taking in a movie.

Film buffs are in luck because Miami Beach is home to unique independent cinemas offering a one-of-a-kind theater-going experience coupled with critically acclaimed films. From a historic venue that’s been the bedrock  of Miami’s film culture for years to cutting-edge cinema, there’s always something good flickering on a screen in Miami Beach. The city is even home to an architecturally significant outdoor cinema where locals congregate with picnics just after dark to take in a movie under the stars.


Miami Beach Cinematheque

Miami Beach Cinematheque 

The Miami Beach Cinematheque is an HD art house built in 1927 by Carl Fisher. The Miami Beach Film Society worked to preserve this Art Deco gem and opened the cinematheque with the mission of offering an alternative to the commercial cinema experience. The intimate cinema has stadium seating with black-and-white photographs of classic movie stars decorating the space. The environment feels almost as comfy and cozy as curling up to watch a movie in your living room. In addition to the screening room, there’s also a gallery, bookstore, library and café where you can purchase sophisticated snacks, wine and beer to enjoy during the movie. It screens critically acclaimed, first-run independent films, documentaries and foreign films. A premier venue during Miami’s many film festivals, including the Miami International Film Festival, it also works to bring limited-release films from prestigious international film festivals like Cannes to Miami’s silver screen.


O Cinema Miami Beach

O Cinema on Miami Beach 

O Cinema was founded in Wynwood in 2011 and two more locations quickly followed, including Miami Beach’s North Beach venue. The cutting-edge, non-profit independent cinema group screens first run independent, foreign, art and family films, with the mission of providing the community with films that they might not otherwise get to see. The North Beach location opened in 2014 inside the historic Byron Carlyle movie theater originally built in 1968, which had been shuttered since the late ’90s. The intimate 304-seat theater utilizes state-of-the-art digital projection and surround sound. In addition to a dynamic calendar of films, it also hosts a monthly Family Days at the Movies series screening classic, rare and new family films on weekend mornings at 11 a.m. On Saturdays, it hosts a late night Secret Celluloid Society screening of cult classics projected in their original archival 35mm form.

Soundscape Cinema at New World Center

New World Center and Soundscape Park at dusk 

Just north of Lincoln Road, you’ll find the beautifully landscaped SoundScape Park occupying an entire city block in front of the New World Center. The facility, designed by star architect Frank Gehry, is home to the New World Symphony, America’s orchestral academy. To bring the symphony to a broader audience, the center was built with an exterior 7,000-square-foot projection wall to simulcast symphony performances and screen movies for free. It’s easily one of the most unique ways to catch a flick with a group of friends and a picnic under the palm trees, and the setting is absolutely enchanting. The SoundScape Cinema Series runs from October through May, typically on Wednesday evenings starting at 8 p.m. Films include recent releases, classics and those with epic visual effects, like The Great Gatsby or The Perfect Storm, that play well on such a large “screen.” Movies are also planned thematically throughout the year with Little Shop of Horrors playing around Halloween and Mother’s Day playing in May.

Whether it's inside an indie art house cinema or outside under the stars in South Beach, make time for a movie on your next trip to Miami.

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