Movie buffs rejoice! The Charlotte Film Festival takes place later this month (September 28-October 2) at a newly-discovered-to-me place worth telling you about.
The Independent Picture House opened in June and is located just outside of what would be the official boundary of NoDa. It occupies a space next to the light rail that has been underutilized for decades. This is such a bright spot in Charlotte’s evolution and a well earned nod to NoDa’s vibe.
When I first moved to Charlotte over a decade ago I felt a bit lost creatively. I came from funky and fabulously weird Asheville and before that Seattle, which is also a place of freedom of expression. Then I found the oasis of NoDa, short for North Davidson Street, AKA the Arts District. It was the neighborhood that made me feel at home in Charlotte.
NoDa is the place to be yourself and take chances. Art and creativity overflow onto the streets and alleyways. NoDa has gone from a place to find affordable rent, a couple of small galleries, one coffee shop (Smelly Cat), and a venue or two (Neighborhood Theatre, Evening Muse), to 100 times all of that on steroids. Bars, restaurants, shops, tall expensive apartment buildings, yoga, oh! and a light rail. NoDa has changed, but it remains as it has always been, Charlotte’s creative nursery.
A group of friends and I wanted to start a movie club, and I was volunteered to pick the first movie. With great cynicism and doubt, I googled “independent movies Charlotte NC” and that’s how I found the Independent Picture House. Boom! Bang! Take THAT, doubter of Charlotte culture.
The non-profit Charlotte Film Society raised more than $600,000 to open the arthouse.
What’s the difference between a movie theater and an arthouse? “Arthouses tend to have a communal feel to them,” Charlotte Film Society President, Brad Ritter told WCNC. “They’re the type of films you want to watch and then, you know, go out in the lobby and talk to your neighbors and discuss them,” Ritter said. And when you’re in the lobby, you can visit the original Manor Theater popcorn machine. The IPH fills the void created when the beloved Myers Park twin theater closed back in 2020.
So, this weekend, why not skip the mega-plex and head over to NoDa. You can grab a drink at Starlight, enjoy some gumbo at Boudreaux’s or blackened mahi-mahi tacos at Cabo then head over to the Independent Picture House for a funky flick.