Later this spring, the Hollywood Theatre plans to unveil an 18-seat cinema in the airport. Located in an under-utilized business center near gate C5, the theater will show a two-hour loop of curated short films, primarily by Oregon-based filmmakers, with a new run of films coming every quarter.
According to the Hollywood’s executive director Doug Whyte, he has been developing plans for the theater for the past two years alongside the Director of Programs and Community Engagement, Justen Harn.
“We read an article in the New York Times about an airport theater in Japan—but there they showed feature films,” he says. “We were like, 'We love the airport here, why can’t we do that?' But we knew we couldn’t do features, just shorts. It was just sort of a dream.”
Whyte and Harn eventually approached the Port of Portland's Greta Blalock, who curates the airport’s art installations, and received her enthusiastic support.
“Instantly there was interest on both ends," says Whyte. "Then it was just a matter of determining how feasible it was and how do we make it a reality.”
The Port donated the business center near C5, while the Hollywood was charged with raising money for demolition and construction. So far, Whyte says, they have raised $20,000 from Travel Oregon, $125,000 from Oregon Community Foundation, $7,000 from the Oregon Arts Commission. The group is finalizing the design with Potestio Studio and ZGF, which currently calls for 18 seats, standing room on the side, and a marquee.
Adds Whyte, “We may also have live performances occasionally, everything from live musicians performing over a silent film to standup comedy. Who knows exactly what will happen?”