Steve White here. I’ve been a reader since day 1 and wanted to share with you our plans for the Grail Moviehouse.
My partner Davida Horwitz and I have been looking for a spot to build our theater for the past year and finally found what we think is the perfect location at 45 South French Broad. We’re just starting the plans and construction now and we’ll have two screens with combined total of around 250 seats.
We are planning on booking mainstream films and a variety of classics, documentaries, and art films and well as a few surprises like Bad Movie Nite. Plus, we are going to reach out to area media artists and filmmakers to program local content.
My background – I worked in several theaters including the Chelsea and Carolina in Chapel Hill for many years, before producing and directing the 35mm feature Immortal in 1995. I also worked on a couple of other indies during that time. Since then I’ve been a corporate producer working in film, video and digital media. I moved to Asheville in 2001.
The Grail takes its inspiration from several innovative cinemas popping up around the country like the Trylon Microcinema, Ragtag Cinema, The Moxie and LA’s Cinefamily. These smaller venues are bringing flexible, unique programming to a hungry audience. We hope to learn from their success and program films that give downtown audiences more choices. Plus, we want to involve the community in the process at every step, knowing that it will make the theater better. What we lack in polish, we hope to make up in a genuinely great experience.
45 French Broad is the former Industries for the Blind building that now houses Hopey and Co. grocery (formerly Amazing Savings), The Downtown Market, and Sly Grog Lounge. Charlie Ball is the owner and he has exciting plans for the building and additional tenants coming into space. We will be occupying much of the rear of the building, with the main entrance on French Broad.
We have 2016 as a rough target since the building and permitting process is just beginning and the schedule is at the mercy of the process. We are shooting for Jan. but if it is possible to be up and running this fall we’d be ecstatic.
We are also going to be reaching out to other businesses in the area to help bring a Classics series to downtown. We would love to have a different classic film every week and are working on a sponsorship program that we think will be a great deal for our partners.
Our Tagline is “Movies people love for people who love movies.” We hope to create a space where people go to enjoy a film together, where the experience is part of the show.
Let me know if you’d like any additional information about the project.
This is so exciting since it will be just down the street from Asheville Middle School. It will be awesome to walk a class down to see movie versions of books being studied. Lots of possibilities for our school community!
please show older greats that many would love to see on a big screen. ie Lawrence of Arabia,China towne.. etc
Both great movies and we’ll include them in a regular series of classics. Keep the suggestions coming.
What kinds of films? Indy or mainstream? First run or re-run like AP&B?
…there’s one in every crowd.
“The Grail plans on bringing flexible, unique programming to a hungry organizers, its founders say.”
Wait, what? Hungry organizers?
Does anyone know if there’s going to be any room left for the Downtown Market vendors after these guys move in?
Awesome! But parking?
A lack of parking hasn’t hurt the Fine Arts.
Lack of parking… there is the Pack Place Garage, the Aloft Hotel, and the Civic Center Garage is really only 4 blocks away: just four tenths of a mile and only an 8 minute walk.
Seriously. So sick of people bitching about “lack of” parking downtown. I’ve never not been able to find a decent spot, even at peak times. Walk the extra block or two people, it’s good for you.
You know, I rarely have a problem finding downtown parking. But, a couple weeks ago, I was there at 12:30PM on a Friday and could find nothing! Street parking full, Wall St and Rankin St garages – full! Myself and several others were driving around and driving around creating traffic while we looked.
Now I understand about the parking complaints. And also realized the reason I usually don’t have problems is b/c I mostly go downtown on week nights.
The reality is a city is always going to want excess parking capacity. Otherwise it results in too much circling traffic and missed sales for stores and restaurants. Not good.
Fortunately, the location of this new theater does offer a good amount of street parking
Even on busy Friday and Saturday nights when the decks on Rankin, Wall Street and the Aloft are full (or charging “event” rates) I have found an almost empty city lot just downhill from the Vance memorial. THAT lot probably fills up on Shindig On The Green nights, but otherwise is a good alternative on DTA5 or Civic Center event nights.
There will be free street parking off S.French Broad and some under the building as well accessible via Ann Street. In addition, the United Way building has a large lot directly across that is dollar per hour. The building is also a couple of blocks from the Wall Street deck. Thanks for your interest in the theater!
Parking is pretty mellow on that side of downtown.
Hopefully they can work out a deal with the church and the United Way across the street. Those two lots combined should be plenty for a 250 seat theater.
Hopefully they’ll have a bike rack out front. Very excited for this theater.