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The exterior of the Firehouse theater.
Photograph: By John Custodio / Courtesy of DCTV

A documentary theater is opening in Chinatown’s historic Firehouse Building

The long-awaited theater opens on Friday.

Rossilynne Skena Culgan
Written by
Rossilynne Skena Culgan

A new home for documentary cinema will open in a historic Chinatown building this weekend. 

Firehouse will be Downtown Community Television Center (DCTV)’s Cinema for Documentary Film. The 67-seat theater will screen feature first-run films, curated shows and repertory works. It boasts 4K projection, 7.1 surround sound, interactive features to connect audiences worldwide, concessions, and an adjoining event space.

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Firehouse will be "a documentary cinema where filmmakers and film lovers can come together in appreciation of nonfiction film," DCTV said in a news release. In addition to screening films, the theater will offer masterclasses, family programs, and special events. 

Founded in 1972, DCTV has grown into one of the leading documentary production and film education centers in the country. A community of and for documentary filmmakers, DCTV is a unique space where screenings, discussions, youth media, continuing education programs, and filmmaking resources exist side by side with award-winning productions. 

The inside of Firehouse Cinema showing red seats and a scren.
Photograph: Courtesy of Firehouse Cinema

Here's the opening show schedule

  • The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales
    Opens Friday, September 23
    This feature-length, personal essay documentary grapples with America’s profound inequality crisis.
  • I Didn't See You There
    Opens Friday, September 30
    As a visibly disabled person, the filmmaker set out to make a film about how he sees the world, from either his wheelchair or his two feet, without having to be seen himself.
  • Brainwashed: Sex-Camera-Power
    Opens Thursday, October 20
    Using clips from hundreds of well-known movies, this independent filmmaker explores the sexual politics of cinematic shot design.
  • Better Together
    Ongoing series beginning on Thursday, October 6
    This series of short documentary films features everything from collaboratively made newsreels to singular artists’ collections of work. 
  • Special events and Q-and-As with filmmakers are also on the schedule

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