New Cinema Planned for Lower East Side


A rendering of a new arthouse cinema that is the brainchild of Alexander Olch.Credit Metrograph LLC

A new two-screen arthouse cinema, capable of playing 35 millimeter and digital films, is set to open on the Lower East Side of Manhattan early next year, flying in the face of doomsday reports that independent theaters are in steep decline.

Called Metrograph, the theater is the brainchild of Alexander Olch, a film director and designer of menswear accessories. He owns a boutique one block from where the new theater is being built, out of an old warehouse on Ludlow Street at Canal Street. A restaurant, lounge and bookstore are also planned.

Michael Lieberman, a spokesman for the project, said the design was aimed at creating an inviting space, with a balcony in the larger theater, which will have 175 seats — the second one will have 50 — and chairs fashioned out of wood salvaged from the old Domino Sugar Factory.

For programming, which, according to a news release will include “world-class independent, international, repertory films and exclusive premieres,” Mr. Olch has turned to two people. One, Jacob Perlin, is programmer-at-large at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and formerly an associate programmer at BAMcinematek. The second, Aliza Ma, has worked at, among other places, the Museum of the Moving Image and the Toronto International Film Festival.

News of the cinema’s opening comes at a turbulent time for independent cinemas, many of which are closing or struggling to make the expensive shift to digital projection.

A version of this article appears in print on 08/25/2015, on page C3 of the NewYork edition with the headline: Indie Art House Cinemas Set for Lower East Side.

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