John Waters Touts New Indie Theater as ‘Heartbeat’ of Baltimore Film — Watch

The newly-restored Stavros Niarchos Foundation Parkway theater opened Wednesday as the new home of the Maryland Film Festival.
John Waters
John Waters
SNF Parkway Film Center

There’s a new independent film venue in Baltimore, and John Waters is the theater’s biggest fan. The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Parkway, a newly-renovated three-screen theater in the heart of Baltimore’s Station North Arts and Entertainment District, opened Wednesday for the first night of the 2017 Maryland Film Festival, which will now call the theater home. Waters’ 1974 film “Female Trouble” will be the first title to play at the theater following the conclusion of the Maryland Film Festival.

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“You need a theater like the Parkway to be the heartbeat where everybody comes, a center where everybody can hang out and meet people that are trying to do the same thing you are,” Waters said in a video about the renovation of the theater. “We will be able to see all the [indie films] that you read about that play for maybe a week in New York and you never get to see if you live here….This is the perfect jewel to open here and make the neighborhood keep growing, and I think that happening is very much dependent on this theater working.”

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Parkway TheaterMaryland Film Festival

The opening of the Parkway followed an $18.2 million renovation of the “rescued ruin,” which first opened in 1915 and served the Baltimore community until 1978. On Thursday, the theater will screen Oscar-winning director Barry Levinson new HBO film, “The Wizard of Lies” at the fest, with a special appearance by Levinson.

The Parkway will feature “bold programming that showcases films from every era, region and genre, with a focus on independent, international, documentary, classic, and cult-favorite films, providing audiences with a fresh and immersive new window into the art form,” according to a statement. The Parkway will also provide classroom space for film students and serve as a year-round hub for film education.

“What Baltimore needs right now is more movie screens and specifically more movie screens that program these smaller independent films,” Maryland Film Festival director Jed Dietz said in the video.

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To learn more about the Parkway’s history, renovation, and future, check out the video below.

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