Art theater opening in Kauai Village shopping center

Damon Marc, owner of the Kilauea Theater and Community Events Center, director of the New Kauai International Film Festival and director of marketing at the Waimea Theater has his sights set on a new venue that he hopes will attract more people to art movies: the Kauai Village Theater in Waipouli.

“I have a heart for the arts and especially the art cinema genre. There’s so much out there to be shown, but as of this Friday there will be more opportunity,” Marc said Monday.

The official opening of the Kauai Village Theater is set for Friday starting at 6 p.m. with an art show of members of the Garden Island Arts Council, followed by an invitation-only screening of “Frida,” a retelling of the life of Mexican painter and artist Frida Kahlo. A second showing of the film will start at 10 p.m., and is open to the public.

According to Marc, Mayor Maryanne Kusaka and mayor-elect Bryan Baptiste were both invited, as well as former members of the Kauai International Theater, an acting troupe that performed at the shopping-center based theater from 1997 until late last year.

The foundation was put together by the Kauai International Theater, and in this new facility the emphasis will be on art cinema, though the venue will be available for live entertainment performances. This means that local talent will be able to use the theater for music events, plays and conferences, Marc said.

Marc studied acting and directing as a minor in college at the University of Santa Barbara in California. Originally from Panama, he moved to Kaua’i in 1990.

Marc has three Jack Russell terriers, one of whom is named after his favorite film “Amelie.”

“As far as Kauai is concerned, I got involved in film here because there seemed to be no one else willing to bring the genre here in this capacity,” Marc said.

The difference between the Kauai Village Theater and all other cinemas on Kaua’i is that the KVT is being run as a non-profit operation. The KVT will offer tax-deductible memberships, and after an initial period, members will be able to reserve seats for film screenings and events. The KVT is run by a non-profit organization and board of directors similar to the Maui International Film Festival and “First Light Festival” which is steadily becoming one of the top 10 film festivals, according to Marc.

Marc says his goal for his new theater in 2003 is to put on a five-day film festival with 30-50 films playing in the Kauai Village Theater, Kilauea Theater and Waimea Theater. Marc says he plans to show about eight art films per month with dates also at Kilauea and Waimea. He’ll be offering membership to the organization, which will include discounts on tickets.

The theater at Kauai Village has 72 seats, Dolby digital DTS surround sound, with JBL speakers, “The sound and projection is not matched by any other theater on Kaua’i, it’s a beautiful cinematic experience. It feels like you’re part of the movie,” Marc said.

Interior construction is being completed this week for Friday night’s grand opening. The stadium-style seated theater was designed so there are no distractions. “There’s not a bad seat in the house,” Marc said. Plus, the 12 x 22-foot screen provides an intimate viewing experience, “like you’re a part of the film,” Marc added.

Future films Marc is attempting to bring to Kaua’i include “Bowling for Columbine” plus a series of films from Tibet and Nepal, including “Ram Das” and “Saltmen of Tibet.”

Kauai Village restaurants including A Pacific Cafe, Camphouse Grill, Pau Hana Bar and Grill, Ba Le and Papaya’s Natural Foods will be offering “dinner and a movie” discounts for those who want to enjoy a meal before or after the show, Marc said.

“The first week-long Kauai International Film Festival will be held next year, but actually the festival will be on all year long,” Marc said. The KIFF is scheduled for November 2003 with several theaters involved, and will be more likely to receive more films than in recent years, Marc said. He’s also looking forward to working with the Hawaii Student Film Festival, which is in the process of coordinating a call for entries from all Hawaii students.

“There’s a big need for this type of theater going public. In general the outer communities are communities within themselves. Driving out there is something people are not willing to do because its too far, too dark and dangerous – not something that people would do,” Marc said.

Marc claimed he’s found many enthusiastic comments from local residents, and ventured to say that if the Waipouli-based theater receives a positive response, he’ll immediately start looking for an opportunity to expand in the Po’ipu area.

Other films on Marc’s wish list include: Eight Women, The Comedian featuring Jerry Seinfeld, and Making Martha, a highly-reviewed German film.

Past offerings of the Kilauea Theater and Waimea Theater include Amelie, Chocolat, Gosford Park, and Himalaya.

“There is a whole myriad of videographers and directors who live on this island who are collaborating,” Marc said. He hopes to introduce a series of Hawai’i-based films and is in the works of finding a producer for North Shore-based screenplay writer Melanie Hoffsteader, who wrote a version of the story of the Na Pali outlaw “Koolau.”

This weekend, “Frida” will show at 10 p.m. Friday; Saturday at 7:30 and 10 p.m.; Sunday at 5, 7:30 and 10 p.m.; and Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. The art show will be open to the public for free, from 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, from 4 p.m. Sunday; and from 6:30 p.m. during the week. The KVT will be closed Thursday in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.

The kids’ show “Jonah, A Veggie Tales Movie” will be shown Sunday at 12:30 and 2:30 p.m. plus Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons at 3:30 and 5:30 p.m.

Film prices are as follows: $5 for children; $6 for seniors; $7 for adults. Discounts will be available for members after Dec. 15. Matinee specials are good for any show before 5 p.m. with matinee pricing at $3.50 for children, $4.50 for seniors and $5.50 for adults.

The KVT box office and information line is 823-6789. Access www.kiff.biz for film schedules, memberships and upcoming events.

Kendyce Manguchei can be reached at kmanguchei@pulitzer.net or 245-3681 (ext. 252).

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