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Art house fans in Orlando could soon have a reason to like the Enzian Theater even more. The independent theater in Maitland has announced its intention to expand its current one-screen theater to three total screens by 2015.
Enzian president Henry Maldonado said the theater would break ground on the expansion plan at next year’s Florida Film Festival, which runs in April. The goal would be for the expansion to be completed by the 2015 Florida Film Festival.
“The plan is to run as is; there should be very limited disruption,” said Maldonado at Valencia College’s West Campus. “The theater will still function. The Eden Bar, which is outside, will still function.”
The theater estimates the expansion would cost around $6 million, of which they have already received about a third of that from membership and “outside philanthropy,” said Maldonado.
Maldonado said the theater would operate all three screens during heavy weeks, including the Florida Film Festival.
Orlando film expert Chris Crespo said the possible expansion would be a huge positive for the theater and their role in the Florida Film Festival.
“The additional screen allows for the Enzian to host more screenings and events at their theater, as opposed to how they have to farm screenings out to other theaters,” said Crespo.
Maldonado said the two new screens would seat around 60 and 80 patrons, where the current screen seats 210 patrons.
Crespo said to expect the theater to stay true to their independent roots by not showing mainstream movies. He said to expect the theater to show more “cult classic”-type of movies, which will help get people to the theater during non-event weeks.
Maldonado sees the expansion as an opportunity for the theater to put their brand out there more frequently.
The two biggest obstacles in the expansion plan are parking, and to ultimately get an approval from the city of Maitland.
“Parking is our biggest problem,” said Maldonado. “We don’t have a big enough piece of land to offer more parking without demolishing everything on the property, which we don’t want to do.”
The other obstacle in the expansion is getting approval from the city. Maldonado said when large projects like this are proposed, a sound parking plan usually comes with it, but this plan isn’t the case.
“We’ll be able to increase our spaces a small amount without touching the oak trees. We’ll bring in valet services,” said Elizabeth Tiedtke, Enzian’s vice president.
“Officials from the city of Maitland have been very supportive of Enzian in the past so we hope that support continues,” said Maldonado.