Students seeking cinema that isn’t gracing the big screens of mainstream theaters might find themselves at home at Art House Cinema 502 on Ogden’s Historic 25th Street.
“We show independent films, foreign films, documentaries, stuff like that,” said Travis Gibby, a volunteer at Art House Cinema 502. “Sometimes we show some classic films.”
Art House Cinema 502 is a relatively new feature to 25th Street. It has only been open since August 2011. It’s open to the public every day of the week unless it is being rented out for a private party.
Gibby said Art House Cinema 502 used to accept whatever people could pay for showings of the films. He said the process soon became abused, so they went back to tickets. For the most part, volunteers run the theater.
Gibby, who has been working at Art House Cinema 502 since it opened, said he got involved because of his passion of working with sound equipment.
“I helped them set up their sound system,” Gibby said. “I’m their audio nerd.”
Art House Cinema 502 is the only theater in Ogden showing these types of films, and it has a following for it. Jason Runnels, the manager of Art House Cinema 502, said it’s important to have a theater like this, because there are people who want to see these kinds of movies. Runnels is the one who gets everything ready for showings at Art House Cinema 502.
“I think it’s cool to give the smaller movie producers a venue,” Gibby said. “It’s also cool to not have to drive to Salt Lake.”
Runnels agreed with Gibby that people in Ogden who want to see non-mainstream films shouldn’t have to drive to Salt Lake City to see them.
Runnels also suggested that people might not know if they really love independent films. He said that when he tells people that movies like “Napolean Dynamite” and “Juno” are independent films, he is met with surprise.
“I make sure the films come in, make sure the schedule is updated,” Runnels said. “I book private parties, make sure everything works.”
How the movies are selected, Runnels said, is that the owners reference more popular arthouses in bigger cities to see what has been getting good reviews, and then try to bring them here.
Gibby also said the owners are always open to suggestions of what people want to see. He said movies run for a couple weeks to a month, depending on popularity.
Art House Cinema 502 is a little more than 500 square feet. Gibby said that’s why the name has 502 in it. Whitney Bradley, another volunteer, said the building is built in an alleyway. That’s why the walls look like the outside of a building, because that’s what they are.
“It’s nice to see films that have more substance,” Runnels said. “People are extremely glad we show our films.”