The Onyx Theater starts a new collaboration with the Nevada Theater. Beginning June 26, Onyx Downtown at the Nevada Theater will be showing movies on Sunday nights at 7:00 p.m. The Nevada City Film Festival will also host films and events on Sunday nights from time to time and will utilize the Nevada Theater during its regular screening festival in August.
For those who haven’t been to the Nevada Theater in recent years, a delightful surprise awaits – the ceiling and walls are covered in exquisite murals by local artists Sarah Coleman, Miles Toland and Brianna French. The three artists received PhDs from the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce. Leland and Sally Lewis Award for Visual Arts. A new Dolby 7.1 surround sound system and a DCI compatible digital projector complete the stunning renovation.
This is not the theater you know and love, but something much more using art, sound and screen technology to enhance the overall experience. Technical engineering by veteran theater designer Jerry Harrah led the sound and screening upgrade. Harrah has designed hundreds of theater sets over a 50-year career. Film lovers can look forward to a diverse film mix every Sunday in a comfortable, greatly expanded film house.
The Onyx Downtown envisions a combination of independent, art house and mainstream films, but above all sees an incredible place to offer a wide variety of offerings that are not age restricted, allowing for more types of films and a much larger audience .
Nevada City Film Festival founder and Onyx Theater owner Jeff Clark sees this as the next step in sharing his love of film. “Movies can change who you are and how you see the world. The size and scope of the Nevada Theater provides us with a rare and wonderful home to make Nevada City a true film destination – not only for screening films, but also for supporting festivals and filmmakers. Both the Onyx and the NCFF will use the new equipment in space, and both will bring great programs, but they are separate entities (the NCFF is a non-profit organization, of course). On Sunday nights, films from the Onyx Downtown series are screened and in 2023 the NCFF is bringing programming to the Nevada Theatre. We will create programs that connect films and filmmakers, that expand the way people think about films, and hopefully inspire others. Isn’t it wonderful to experience Nevada City and see great cinema?”
Community and nonprofit collaborations are now possible with the Onyx Downtown. The Onyx Downtown will play a role in advocacy and fundraising efforts, as well as in the appreciation of cinema. It’s certain that the Onyx Theater and Nevada City Film Festival will be available downtown and year-round, adding to the vitality of Nevada City’s great local culture.
“I want to thank Mike Getz and the entire Sierra Cinemas family for starting this film tradition at the Nevada Theater so many decades ago. Mike is a true advocate of film and contributes so much to our local arts community. We look forward to continuing the Sunday night tradition, with Onyx Downtown offering a wide array of film and community collaboration projects in the heart of historic Nevada City,” said Celine Negrete, general manager of Onyx, in a recent conversation about this new one Company.
After several years of not having really formal venues due to COVID, the Nevada City Film Festival will be showing previous films alongside new work. It’s a rare moment when a film festival can occupy a beautifully renovated historic theater.
Jane Primrose, President of the Nevada Theater Commission, sees this as one of the final key elements in overcoming the obstacles caused by COVID. This wonderful home of the arts will now be an even more permanent part of downtown Nevada City and will be visited again by an audience every Sunday. “Sunday night movies are a key lynchpin of our overall programming,” notes Primrose. These upgrades will ensure Nevada Theater remains an important part of our community for many years to come.
The original Onyx Theater in the Seven Hills District, while still a hidden gem, continues to set a very high bar for cinema seven days a week and now adds a major movie lover’s showcase in the heart of downtown Nevada City on Sunday nights.
Onyx Downtown at the Nevada Theater
Onyx Downtown at the Nevada Theater shows movies every Sunday night at 7:00 p.m. An eclectic mix of films, the films also feature selections from the Nevada City Film Festival. Keep an eye out for upcoming film series and special selections. Sign up at theonyxtheatre.com for news and event notifications.
The Nevada City Film Festival
Established in 2001, the Nevada City Film Festival is often referred to as the “Sundance of the Sierra” for its focus on strongly independent cinema that showcases innovative, progressive and exciting new voices in film. In 2020, USA Today named the Nevada City Film Festival one of the top festivals in the United States.
The Nevada Theater
The Nevada Theater is the oldest continuously operating theater on the West Coast of the United States. Built in 1865, the Nevada Theater was closed during COVID, allowing time for a significant mural project, as well as upgrades for digital showings and surround sound. These projects were carried out with grants and donations. Thank you to the community, Onyx and Nevada County Board of Supervisors. https://nevadatheatre.com/
Pamela Biery is a freelance writer and communications professional. Contact them at [email protected]. Read more about her work at PamelaB.com