Countdown begins to reopen Emek Movie Theater
ISTANBULIstanbul’s historic Emek Theater is set to reopen in March following a long and controversial renovation.
Along with its 600-people capacity hall, one of the first movie theaters of the Republic era, Emek also has eight new movie theaters for 800 people. New movie theater enterprise Cinemo will operate the new Emek Movie Theater, which will offer the latest technology.
Just a year younger than the Turkish Republic, the Emek Movie Theater was built in 1924 and stands as the first of its kind from the republican era. Despite their fabled history, Beyoğlu’s long-serving theaters have experienced difficulties in competing with new, big and modern movie theater chains.
According to contractors, the restoration of the movie theater was made in accordance with the original project in 1924. The wall and ceiling ornamentations of the venue were removed and were enumerated by an expert team that worked for the Topkapı Palace restoration. They were place in the new venue after being restored and conserved in the atelier.
Actors, directors, cinema critics and artists protested the decision for the demolition of the historic Emek Movie Theater many times in 2013, with police routinely attacking marchers, including French-Greek director Costas-Gavras.
The movie theater had undergone a big restoration process in 1993, while its seats and sound system were renewed in 2000, giving it technology to compete against modern movie theaters. The building, however, was completely demolished on May 20, 2013.
The movie theater had been the venue of the Istanbul Film Festival for more than 20 years as well as the Film Ekimi event since 2002 and remained closed during the 2009 and 2010 seasons.
Hosting stage performances
In its new place, the Emek Movie Theater will also host stage performances. When necessary, it will offer a proper technical platform for sound and lighting system needed for stage performances.
The building of the Emek Movie Theater had been used for other purposes before turning into a movie theater. It was built in 1884 by the architect Alexandre Vallaury and opened as the Istanbul Hunters Club (Club des Chasseurs de Constantinople) and then as a Strangali’s Greek Athletic Gym. In 1909, it hosted the “New Circus” (Nouveau Cirque) and a skating rink.