Stuart Johnson, Deseret Morning News
Brady Whittingham, left, and Tyler Measom are co-owners of Festival Cinemas in Orem.

OREM — Independent films are now included and all shows cost $1 at the newly renamed Festival Cinemas at the University Mall.

Utah businessman Brady Whittingham and filmmaker Tyler Measom, founders of the Utah Family Film Festival, bought the theater from Don Clifton.

The new owners have renovated and cleaned the interior and updated the marquee. Seats in all four theaters were steam cleaned, broken ones replaced.

At least one of the theater's four screens is now dedicated to showing independent films — films made outside the Hollywood studio system.

"It has a semiart house feel," Measom said. "I can't show that many art shows here. That would be suicide. Typical (independent films) are R-rated."

However, they screened the independent, romantic drama "Evening," starring Glenn Close, Meryl Streep, Claire Danes and Vanessa Redgrave and "Waitress," with Keri Russell and Andy Griffith. The theater also screened "Expiration Date," a film festival flick. (Seattle writer-director Rick Stevenson came to introduce each screening.)

Blatant R-rated films won't be shown — "I'm fortunate not to have to show them," he said.

The new owners are also in partnership with the Salt Lake Film Society to bring more "indie" films to Utah County.

As part of the new ownership celebration that began mid-September, Festival Cinemas will give away two tickets in the lower bowl sixth row to the Miley Cyrus (TV persona Hannah Montana) concert at the EnergySolutions Arena on Oct. 27.

Everyone who buys a ticket to a movie at Festival Cinemas through October will have a chance to win.

Whittingham and Measom brought the Utah Family Film Festival to Orem in June. The festival attracted more than 5,000 people.

"I saw there was a market (for family films) when I did the family film festival last year," Measom said.

The 2008 Utah Film Festival of family-centered independent films is set for June 9-14, 2008.

Along with regular and independent film fare, the two are also bringing free athletic games to the big screen, including some Monday Night football, Brigham Young University games, Ute games and Jazz playoff games. They've brought in a digital projector to show the games and films.

They also upgraded their concessions and brought in locally made Spotted Dog ice cream.

"Moviegoers can now continue to enjoy films in a refurbished, renovated and comfortable community setting with an inexpensive price." Measom said. "In addition to mainstream movies, we are going to provide the community with compelling, humorous and thought-provoking independent films that usually don't run in Utah County."

Festival Cinemas is located at 959 S. 700 East in Orem, next to Costco. For showtimes call 226-1770.


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