The Indywood Theater is not your average theater showing the next Channing Tatum film or the next blockbuster. The new theater is instead showing and supporting New Orleans' local independent films.
Hayley and Will Sampson are the brother and sister behind Indywood Theater. “We want to have a place where local filmmakers can screen their work and get paid for it,” Hayley says. “Our ultimate goal is to make it possible for filmmakers to make a decent living.”
Will and Hayley started Indywood in October 2013 on St. Claude Avenue, but the theater has recently moved and is currently in progress at its permanent location at 630 Elysian Fields. “The sound system will be much better when we eventually install surround sound," Hayley says. "Our priority is to get more comfortable seating ASAP. The owners of the building are also planning a full renovation in March/April with new floor and ceiling, better temperature control, and permanent concessions area.” The new location is an old Wash-Dry-Fold building that they will be turning into a full theater in the coming months. Although the renovations are still in progress, the screenings of local films started in January and will continue through pre-Mardi Gras season. Until the renovations are finished, Hayley says, "it'll be a ‘pop-up’ movie theater with a DIY feel until at least June.”
Tickets for films at Indywood are $5 and it’s BYOB. A portion of the ticket price goes back to the filmmaker and to the finishing of the theater. The founders of Indywood are also in the works to start a new way for local filmmakers to grow their audience and ultimately help fund their films through a process called crowd investment. The process is similar to Kickstarter.com, a website where people can help fund projects they find interesting. Indywood.org will allow filmmakers’ work to be displayed so they can find their audience and in turn will help find people interested in helping fund the film. According to the website, “The crowd will vote with their dollars to decide which movies get made and which don't, and they'll make a profit from the ones that do well.”
Different films will be shown each weekend from Thursday to Sunday at Indywood. See what films will be playing next at indywood.org.