Movie House of Worship: Central Florida’s Enzian Theater

By  · Published on December 9th, 2012

“Movie House of Worship” is a regular feature spotlighting our favorite movie theaters around the world, those that are like temples of cinema catering to the most religious-like film geeks. This week, guest submitter Zac Alfson shares one of his favorite theaters. His comments are those quoted. If you’d like to suggest or submit a place you regularly worship at the altar of cinema, please email our weekend editor.

Name: Enzian Theater

Location: 1300 South Orlando Avenue Maitland, FL

Opened: 1985, as a repertory house screening 6–12 classics per week. Four years later it changed to a first-run arthouse cinema and continues to operate not-for-profit with the help of members, volunteers and donors.

No. of screens: 1

Current first-run titles: Searching for Sugar Man

Repertory programming: Midnight movies run on the weekends. This coming Friday and Saturday you can catch Miami Connection, and on the 21st and 22nd they’ve got a seasonal treat, Rare Exports. Also, every second weekend of the month are Saturday Matinee Classics, such as Rashomon, When Harry Met Sally and Sunset Boulevard, coming in the next few months. Every other Tuesday, there’s Cult Classics, this week’s offering being Xanadu. Scheduled for Christmas: Jackie Brown. Sweet Smell of Success and Scarface are coming up in January. Finally, the Wednesday Night Pitcher Show brings old favorites outdoors. Next month this program includes Old School and Creepshow. Enzian also hosts Popcorn Flicks in the Park in nearby Winter Park’s Central Park. Next month they’re showing Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure.

Special Events: In addition to the regular repertory screenings, Enzian features Meet the Filmmaker events, opera performances and a regular local indie showcase called Film Slam and the annual Brouhaha Film & Video Showcase for works produced in-state and by area film school students. They also host the popular Florida Film Festival in April, the South Asian Film Festival in October and a young filmmakers summer camp called KidFest.

Why I worship here: “The moviegoing experience is unlike anywhere I’ve been. An unassuming building tucked away off of the main drag, Enzian is an oasis, surrounded by hundred-year-old oaks and relaxing fountains and focusing not only on great film, but also food. They’re also home of the Florida Film Festival, a truly fun regional festival that’s been running for over 20 years. Again, with a shared focus on food and film, the festival is brings great experiences each spring.”

Recent screening of note: Last week, as usual, Enzian hosted the annual two-day Central Florida Jewish Film Festival, with showings of the narratives Foreign Letters and Mabul (The Flood) and the documentaries Portrait of Wally and Nicky’s Family. Orlando Weekly’s Cameron Meier provides a great write-up here.

Devotion to the concessions: Enzian’s outdoor Eden Bar and Restaurant isn’t exactly concessions, but it’s one of the theater’s main attractions, whether you’re there for a movie or lunch or just a drink. As for the in-theater menu, it’s very similar to that of the restaurant (sandwiches and salads and pizzas), plus the basics like popcorn and kettle corn and full bar options, including rotating drafts from my beloved local Georgia brewery, Terrapin.

Last word: “Truly one of Central Florida’s best assets.”

Once again, if you’d like to suggest or submit a place you regularly worship at the altar of cinema, please email our weekend editor.

Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.