Worst Cultural Setback

The demise of Sunrise Cinema

The Hyde Park movie complex replaced the also well-loved Madstone Theaters. Both were major destinations for independent/ art films in Tampa, but the new Sunrise offered more than just another movie theater. The space became a neighborhood cornerstone and a cultural nexus within Tampa Bay, offering free outdoor movies and a foreign-movie discussion group. The theater was also a hangout, with checkers tables, board games and a (somewhat) gourmet concession stand. Sunrise is being supplanted by condos and a parking lot, a sad and familiar story. Some potentially good news came across the transom of late: Channelside Cinemas pledged to set aside one or two screens for independent, art and foreign films, but how and when this will be implemented is a bit fuzzy. For the time being, most art films will have to vie for space at single-screen venues: the Tampa Theatre and Beach Theatre. What can we say about Sunrise’s sunset? Sucks for us — but then again, we’re kinda used to it.

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