By Jai-Leen James, Contributing Reporter
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – After closing one location in Wynwood, O Cinema has found a new home on South Beach. On August 1st, the popular, non-profit movie theater took over operations of the Miami Beach Cinematheque located at 1130 Washington Avenue.
The newly anointed O Cinema South Beach will continue to screen first-run independent, foreign, art and family films. Kareem Tabsch and Vivian Marthell launched O Cinema in 2011 and are credited with helping spearhead Wynwood’s arts and culture district revival. O Cinema Wynwood closed in March and soon will become a 189-unit apartment building.
In 2003, Dana Keith opened the original Miami Beach Cinematheque on Española Way. The theater served as headquarters for the Miami Beach Film Society, which was also founded by Keith in 1993. In 2010, the Cinematheque relocated inside the City Hall building on Washington Avenue.
Last fall, Keith expanded the Miami Beach Cinematheque Interactive Archive Project. The project’s goal is to bring a rare collection to the community by digitizing and displaying the Cinematheque’s archive of film memorabilia and ephemera.
“Dana told us the lease for the space was coming up for renewal and he thought it was time for a shift,” Tabsch said. “He’s been operating the Cinematheque day in and day out as a one-man show for almost twenty years and created a haven for film lovers. But he wants to dedicate himself to the archival project and no longer has the time to do both things.”
The 75-seat venue can also be purposed as an event space, an art gallery of and an archive of historical movie books and more. The Miami Beach Film Society will continue to operate out of O Cinema South Beach.
“O Cinema would not exist were it not for the pioneering efforts of Dana Keith and the Miami Beach Film Society,” said Tabsch.
“We look forward to building upon that legacy through this partnership that will bring a mixed-approach to programming throughout the year and ensure that arts and culture continue to thrive on Washington Avenue in the heart of South Beach.”