American Cinematheque: A different way to learn about film in Los Angeles

Grauman's Egyptian Theater in Hollywood plays host to American Cinematheque

Hotels in this story

When you think of Los Angeles, you probably think of the movie business and Hollywood. One of the benefits of living in, and visiting, Los Angeles is getting an inside look at the film business. While many tourists take tours of the major studios, a great way to get learn about the industry is to go to a movie screening. At many screenings, the star, or the director, or the writer will speak about the film and how it was made.

American Cinematheque, an organization founded to preserve and promote film, hosts numerous screenings throughout the year that are open to the public. Screenings take place at two historic theaters — one in Santa Monica; the other in Hollywood.

In Hollywood, their program is shown at the Egyptian Theatre, a Hollywood landmark more ornate than the famous Grauman’s across the street (Grauman also built the Egyptian). For $10, you can take a 60-minute tour of the Egyptian. For another $5, you can also watch American Cinematheque’s documentary, Forever Hollywood. Nearby, you can stay at or grab a bite to eat at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel (another must-see landmark).

In Santa Monica, American Cinematheque screens at the Aero Theatre. The Aero is also a historic movie theater, nestled between boutiques on Montana Avenue in an upscale area of Santa Monica. Built 1939, the Aero Theatre was originally opened as a continuous 24-hour movie theater for aircraft workers, but not it’s a beloved fixture in the neighborhood. You’ll often find celebrity neighbors sitting in seats around you, eating popcorn (and they serve real butter!), and enjoying a Marx Brothers classic or the newest art film. You can walk here from the Huntley Hotel and the Hotel Oceana.

– Lesley Bracker