DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Foreign and indie films have been finding a home at an offbeat Dayton theater for decades. The Neon prides itself on being different from mainstream cinemas.
“We are engaged with the community in a way that other cinemas are not,” explained Jonathan McNeal, The Neon manager.
McNeal joined the theater in 2001, when a second auditorium was being added. He said, aside from renovations and a digital conversion several years ago, The Neon operates virtually every day of the year.
“Rain or snow or tsunami, we are open here at The Neon,” he said.
Unlike larger cinemas, The Neon airs smaller, independent films over the latest blockbusters. The concession stand vends candy and refreshments from local businesses.
Larry Brown has been coming to the theater on E 5th Street and S Patterson Blvd. since it opened almost three decades ago and now attends film screenings about once a week.
“We like the atmosphere, we like the staff, we like the type of movies they show,” Brown said.
McNeal said, “We’re brining films in that may not have been picked up for distribution yet, but we believe there’s merit and interst in what these filmmakers have to say.”
Many of the filmmakers are able to address the audiences personally. The cinema regularly hosts panel discussions and special guests.
“We’re always looking for partners and finding ways that film can speak to a broader sense of what’s happening in our own world,” McNeal said.
The Neon is located at 130 East Fifth Street, Dayton, OH 45402 and opens 30 minutes before the first showing each day.
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