Austin Film Society announces the redesign of the organization’s twin screen arthouse cinema and event hall, designed by Designtrait and Michael Hsu Office of Architecture.  AFS Founder and Artistic Director Richard Linklater will collaborate with the local design firms to realize the organization’s long-time vision for a full time arthouse cinema for Austin’s film lovers.  Scheduled to open in early 2017, the venue’s new design will celebrate the organization’s 31-year history as a beacon for Austin’s vibrant film community and evoke appreciation for cinema and movie-going culture past and present. 

“Designtrait and Hsu are our ideal design partners for this project” said AFS Founder, Richard Linklater. “They have elevated the vision with their creativity and depth of experience, and shared and delighted in our passion for film, finding ways to express this in the design. Best of all, they are Austinites who want to support AFS in making something great happen for the community.”

“The ultimate goal for the design of the theater is to create a setting that complements the vision of an arthouse theater: a hub for the vibrant arts community to share the film experience and engage with each other,” said Michael Hsu.

In addition to adding a second cinema to the venue, located in Austin’s Highland neighborhood, the redesigned space will have a variety of distinctive gathering areas, including an entry vestibule, bar, and lounge, offering guests pleasing settings in which to assemble before and after films.  The kinetic space will be simple yet dynamic, mixing features, elements and colors to welcome guests into a comfortable atmosphere with a distinctively “Austin-vibe.” The cinema will feature a series of “surprise and delight” moments ranging from grand design gestures to Linklater’s own private movie memorabilia, including:

  • Vintage cinema posters curated by Linklater

  • Movie soundtrack album covers from Richard Linklater’s personal collection

  • Full service bar and featured food menu

  • Renovated lobby with cinema-inspired light installations and lounge seating

  • New marquee signage

  • Updated Event Hall, available for private rental 

 “Richard Linklater and the Austin Film Society are design collaborators in the purest form,” said Becky Jeanes, architect and co-owner of Designtrait.  “Richard has been at every design meeting, thoroughly thinking through the design. The resulting design is truly representative of the organization and delivers very deliberately layered elements that will enhance the experience for moviegoers.”

Working alongside Michael Hsu Office of Architecture and Designtrait is Swinerton, an Austin construction company that will serve as the Construction Manager and execute the buildout once design nears completion.


Austin Film Society (AFS) is thrilled to announce that it assumes management of its own cinema and event venue this week and plans to significantly expand its offering of curated programming.

AFS has signed an agreement to operate the theater and event venue formerly known as the Marchesa Hall and Theater (6226 Middle Fiskville Road, Austin, TX 78752). The venue will be temporarily renamed the AFS Cinema until—after undergoing significant renovations—it will relaunch, with new branding and expanded programming in early 2017.

Richard Linklater, Austin Film Society’s Artistic Director and Founder says “opening a full time art house theater has always been part of the organization’s vision,” and it is a “dream come true” to see this come to fruition. Running a full-time theater enables AFS to grow its museum-quality, carefully curated repertory, international, and art house film programming, as well as host AFS Premieres and Special Events such as the recent AFS Artist Spotlight with Ethan Hawke and the upcoming Sundance Institute #ArtistServices Workshop (May 21).

Linklater announced lead gifts and AFS’s plans to open an arthouse theater on stage at the Texas Film Awards, presented by H-E-B, in March. A recording of that announcement, which also outlines the history of AFS’s exhibition program, can be viewed here.

David Monahan, an Austin native, has been hired as General Manager to lead daily operations of the theater and event space. Monahan previously held senior management positions with Nordstrom’s restaurant division, where he served as General Manager at several locations nationally. He previously was a stage manager for UT’s Texas Performing Arts and an Assistant Theater Manager at Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse Theater.

In addition to housing AFS’s curated programming and special events, the AFS Cinema and Event Space is available for rent. Please direct all rental inquiries to

The Austin Film Society is a nonprofit organization with 501(c)(3) status and is committed to making Austin synonymous with great film. To support AFS in bringing international film culture and education to Austinites through the expansion of the theater, contact Lauren Alexander-Labahn, Director of Relationships and Revenue, at

The project was originally announced at the 2016 Texas Film Awards. Read our March 10 press release >>


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For media inquiries, please contact Charlotte Hill.

For rental information of the venue space, please inquire here.

If you're a filmmaker or distributor and are interested in having your film programmed at the Cinema, please inquire here.


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