After her son was born Lilliane Waelder didn’t have time to drive to Salt Lake to catch a movie. “I love all kinds of movies,” she says, “but I needed a way to access indie movies again.” So, she opened Cinema 502, a micro-cinema, in Ogden with co-owner William Carlson.
While there are a few other micro-cinemas (those with fewer than 70 seats) in th e U.S., Cinema 502, with their minimal 27 seat set-up, is the only stationary single-screen micro-cinema in the country. “A lot of these micro cinemas have a little niche or gimmick. We have an Art Deco gimmick that really plays off of Ogden’s history,” she says.
Waelder wants to bring more content to Utah and not show indie films with huge followings like Lady Bird or Napoleon Dynamite—though they did secure rights to Sundance 2018’s Death of Stalin.
But the bulk of Cinema 502’s business is private parties. “We’ve had bachelorette parties, birthdays, anniversaries, reunions, post-proms, anything really. The only caveat is that they have to provide the film, whether its their favorite Blu-ray or a home movie they made on their computer,” says Waelder. Popcorn is always included in the price, but you can buy other concessions like soda and candy. Not feeling a movie? You can host a video game party if you bring your own system.
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