Art-House America

A Beacon of Movie Love in Tucson

Inside Criterion / On the Channel — Oct 9, 2019


Like a number of theaters featured in our Criterion Channel series Art-House America, the Loft Cinema once faced the threat of its doors closing permanently. Born in 1972, and originally based in a small space near the University of Arizona, this longstanding cultural hub in Tucson, Arizona, relocated in 1991 to a former AMC Theater called the Showcase. After a few years of operation, the owner put the building up for sale, and in an effort to save this beloved venue, a band of devotees decided to save the Loft by turning it into a nonprofit institution. Now in its fourth decade, this vibrant theater is a home for films that would not play in Tucson otherwise, and its abiding mission—nurtured by executive director Peggy Johnson, program director Jeff Yanc, and their intrepid staff—is to build community through film. Among the Loft’s most crowd-pleasing events are its sing-along screenings, including one of the longest-running continuous Rocky Horror Show program on record. The theater has also started taking movies on the road with an outdoor, solar-powered screening series presented in the area’s underserved communities. Take a look at all the inspiring work that the staff does year-round in our latest installment of Art-House America, available to watch above, as well as on the Criterion Channel, which features a series of films handpicked by the Loft team.