Texan Theater

The ongoing renovation of the Texan Theater has seen some major steps forward in recent months, and Reel East Texas Film Festival hopes the community will come take a peek Thursday evening.

Come for the free tacos and beverages, RETFF Director Chip Hale quipped, stay for a tour of the theater and a sneak peek of the 2019 film festival’s lineup.

The Oct. 17 Texan Open House is free and open-to-the-public, running 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 201 South Kilgore St.

“Don’t be surprised if we try to recruit you to be a volunteer for the film festival,” Hale added. “We need volunteers and you get to see free movies as a bonus.”

In addition to complimentary drinks and dinner from Tacos las Tejanitas, the event includes a brief preview of some of RETFF’s offering next month. The third annual independent film series runs Nov. 14-17 in the Texan as well as the Texas Broadcast Museum with additional activities scheduled for the Old Post Office, RETFF’s Reel Lounge.

“We have been pretty aggressive in regards to making some structural changes to the Texan,” Hale said. Working with the City of Kilgore, with funding from Rosa May Griffin Foundation, the north side of the building was recently repaved and, again with the foundation’s support, “the festival has procured a retractable screen we’ll now be able to show movies on, not only for the film festival but at other events we have throughout the year at the Texan,” whether meetings, weddings, concerts or other activities. “It benefits the theater as a whole.

“The most exciting change that we’ve made has been the beginnings of the demolition of the balcony.”

Another projected spearheaded by the City of Kilgore, the balcony demolition is a jumping-off point.

“Getting the balcony started really opens us up to being able to work on a lot of other projects,” from installing a sprinkler system to constructing a family bathroom, finishing a dividing wall, adding a kitchenette and moving audio/visual equipment into a second-tier booth.

Granted, Hale said, those projects are still upcoming.

“Imagination and visualization will still have to happen Thursday when people come to see the Texan, but I think with what we’ve done and what we’re doing, people will be able to see what’s going on.”

Learn more online at Facebook.com/ReelEastTexas.

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