By Michael Boyink
The Avalon. Ava Live Theatre. Ava Family Theater. The Avalon (again).
If you call Ava’s only remaining movie theater by any of those names, get ready for a change.
On Saturday, January 26th, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. the theater will re-open under its new name, the Ava TrueView Family Theater. Admission and popcorn will be free during this Grand Opening event.
Featured films will be Ace Wonder at 6:30p.m., and Beyond the Mask at 8:30p.m.
If the “TrueView” name sounds familiar to your ear, it’s by design.
The TrueView theater is the second effort owned and managed by Bread of Life Giving and Sharing, a faith-based ministry located in Ava.
Bread of Life also owns and operates the TrueBrew coffee shop located diagonally across the square.
Tom Martincic is the Executive Director of Bread of Life Giving and Sharing.
He wasn’t really looking to own a movie theater. Or a coffee shop, for that matter. “Ironically I’m not a movie person and I don’t even really drink coffee,” Tom chuckles. “But if it means I can better serve the community then great.”
Martincic started looking for additional space for activities that were outgrowing the coffee shop.
“We have Bible studies at TrueBrew on Friday nights and we were looking for something larger and more conducive to that than a restaurant,” he explains. “I also do a weekly broadcast for my ministry and was looking for a quiet studio to produce that in.”
He looked at other buildings on the square, but nothing was really working out. The idea of buying the theater came from a TrueBrew customer who knew he was searching for additional space.
“She said she was driving alone to work and it was like someone was sitting in the seat next to her,” Tom explains. “And that person was telling her to stop by True Brew and let them know the theater is for sale.”
Martincic took her message seriously. “We went over and looked at the theater. It had everything we needed,” he says. “It has an upper room where we can hold the bible study, and quiet basement for recording in.”
And the theater area? “When I walked in I was impressed. It’s actually larger than I expected,” he says. “The previous owners did a good job of making improvements, and all the projection and sound equipment was there yet.”
An idea was born. Maybe there was another way to serve the Ava community besides the food and beverages at TrueBrew?
“Providing inspiration is another way to help people,” Tom says. “We decided we could show inspirational films that will do more than entertain. They’ll build people up and encourage them.”
Also important to Martincic was making sure the theater was family-friendly. “We wanted it to be somewhere you can take your kids and not worry about profanity,” Tom says, “or how the Lord will be blasphemed next.”
The building needed some additional work before the screen lights up again. Martincic and a crew of volunteers have been busy inside, adding insulation and curtains along the theater walls.
And like at TrueBrew, volunteers will be part of the daily operation of the theater after it’s open. They’ll help keep the costs of operating the theater down, allowing Martincic to offer families low-cost entertainment. “Any film that’s not brand new will be free admission,” he says. “It’s an opportunity for us as a non-profit. We’re not concerned with maximizing the return on our investment. Whatever we do make we can pour back into the community.”
The TrueView won’t just be showing reruns. The theater will also be showing first-run films. Admission for those will be $9 for adults, $7.50 for children, and $6 for seniors.
Even in this age of streaming movies on demand, Martincic is confident that the theater will find an audience. “Big screen, surround sound, lights down, popcorn, and an audience – this is how movies were meant to be seen.”
The theater will also be available for business, community and church events.
Learn more about upcoming movies, show times, or booking the venue on the theater’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/avatheater.