When the doors opened on the newly-refurbished movie house in Bayou Place on Monday night, the throngs poured in, hungry for more than mere popcorn, the appetite was for a first-look at Sundance Cinemas' transformation of the old Angelika Film Center. And for one of the film screenings.
It was part opening night VIP ceremony, part fundraiser and part early admission to the art house theater which welcomes the public officially on Wednesday.
A host of dignitaries lined up to offer greetings to supporters of Sundance and of the evening's beneficiaries — the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Film Department and the Houston Cinema Arts Society. The VIPS were invited gratis, the paying public could make the first night's showing for a $25 donation.
Thus, it was a mix of notables and movie fans, who mingled through the lobby and lent their ears to the presentation.
With Maria Todd serving as emcee, Lynn Wyatt, founding chair of the museum's film committee, and Franci Crane, chair and co-founder of the Cinema Arts Society, addressed the crowd as did Greg Ortale of the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau and a host of others. Robert Redford offered special greetings via video.
Once the talks were completed, guests meandered into the various movie theaters to take in the film of their choice.