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Meet the local minds who put their mark on Austin Film Society’s Emblematic Theater

The Austin Film Society and its newly reopened AFS Cinema have given Austinites a stylish reason to head out to the movies. It’s a space that has movie lovers and design enthusiasts alike rejoicing over the opportunity to see a 35 mm projection, then belly up to the über-stylish bar and trade notes with your film-buff bartender. Born out of a love for film culture and brought to life through a collaboration between Michael Hsu, Designtrait, and, of course, the Austin Film Society, everyone involved was committed to working with talented local creators and fabricators to make the space sing. Need a reason to plan a night out? Now you have it. See you at the pictures.

Unsurprisingly, Evan Voyles of Neon Jungle designed and created the trademark neon sign that greets moviegoers as they arrive and pass under Lisa Laratta’s hand-stenciled barrel vault. Laratta, a local set designer, also worked her magic on the velvet curtains that ease film fans into the theater itself. The AFS Cinema features state-of-the-art technology, all of which was also locally sourced.

“Having worked with the local film industry for over 25 years, I was already keenly aware of how important the Austin Film Society is to the local community. I was happy to get to inject some of my craft initiatives into this piece!” —Evan Voyles

afs austin film society hsu architecture designtraitJay Colombo (Michael Hsu Office of Architecture) & Becky Jeanes (Designtrait) were tasked with organically turning this ’80s-era building into a space rich with texture and style reminiscent of classic movie houses associated with film’s golden age.

Richard Linklater (founder of the Austin Film Society) happily donated vintage movie posters and original film art from his personal collection, adding an important layer of history and character.

Warbach Lighting and Design created the space’s central light installation, which harkens back to a vintage marquee and floats above a custom couch designed by Litmus Industries. This spot, designed to encourage community and conversation, is the heart of the AFS Cinema and sets the tone for all that’s to come.

“We were humbled to work with a group as visionary as AFS and excited to help create a space that celebrates and encourages the passionate discussion of meaningful films. We wanted to fundamentally reimagine how a theater cannot only be a place of film screening but become an active part of the art community of Austin.” —Warbach Lighting and Design

Read more from the Community Issue | February 2018