By Tucker Harris EBS STAFF
After lying dormant for nearly two years, Big Sky Cinema will reopen as The Independent on January 7, 2022. Formerly Lone Peak Cinema, the venue has been completely revamped and its creators envision the space as a community center. Entertainment.
The beloved Lone Peak Cinema closed in March 2020, when COVID-19 first struck. Now The Independent will debut in the New Year with even more to offer.
The new cinema, which once hosted Hollywood movies and the occasional ski movie, will be split into four different locations: a large 90-seat cinema for new Hollywood movies; a smaller open stage space for independent films, live music, trivia and private parties; a large bar on the ground floor with cocktails inspired by classic films and a restaurant-bar upstairs.
âEvery night of the week something different is going to happen,â said Ruth White, Managing Director of The Independent. “It will almost be like a community entertainment center.”
The restaurant will be open seven days a week for on-site or packaged-to-travel meals and rotating themed cocktails each season. The dinner menu is currently under development and is being organized by the Ousel and Spur Pizza Co. team.
The former owners of the building, John Romney and Dan Henry, will continue to own the theater. Romney is also a co-owner of Ousel and Spur. Romney brought in White in May 2021, and since then she has worked hard to bring the renovated concept of the theater to fruition.
“The cinema was the first place I went when I first arrived [to Big Sky] in 2017, âWhite said. âIt was literally the first business I entered. “
New Hollywood releases will be available with two screenings per day at $ 15 for adult tickets and $ 10 for tickets for children 14 and under. There will be special offers for locals who also work in the hotel and service industry.
In addition to providing films, The Independent will host daily entertainment in a smaller cinema space which is now open plan.
âIt’s interactive where patrons can still go up to the bar and have a drink,â White said, âor if they’re sitting across the bar, they can still see and hear what’s going on.â
The Big Sky Arts Council has partnered with The Independent to help organize the series of weekly events on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Les Lundis en musique will feature films focused on music; Tuesdays will feature outdoor-themed film screenings, including touring film festivals and documentaries; Fridays will be reserved for live jazz evenings; and on Saturdays for live music from singer-songwriters.
Brian Hurlbut, Executive Director of the Arts Council, said he was excited to partner with The Independent and expand the reach of the Arts Council to the Big Sky community while getting more involved in the Film Industry.
âI’m really excited, not only that the Arts Council is a part of it, but as someone who has lived here in Big Sky for a long time,â said Hurlbut. âI think this type of space is going to be very popular with anyone who just wants to come in and have a drink, someone who wants to listen to music, someone who wants to go upstairs and have dinner, and I think it’s just going to get a lot of buzz when it opens.
The independent staff are also happy to have the Arts Council on board as a partner.
âWe are thrilled to benefit not only from the reach of the Arts Council and the exceptional work it has done for the community, but also Brian’s knowledge of music, outdoor films and film festivals. It’s a wealth of knowledge to be able to partner with them, âWhite said.
Bozeman-based jazz artist Craig Hall will spearhead jazz nights on Friday nights, occasionally bringing in other musicians to play improvisational jazz with him on stage.
âIt’s something that we haven’t really had – a jazz scene here before like that – I think it’s just something that we missed in Big Sky,â said Hurlbut. “I think it really fits that space: with the table seats, the stage and the atmosphere.”
Trivia Night at Lone Peak Cinema was a must see for the people of Big Sky. White is especially excited to bring back this deal and once again host live trivia, outfitted with a state-of-the-art sound system, on-stage host and table service to ensure that no one misses a question while refilling their drink.
Each month, free Throwback Thursday films in open space will be themed. For January, in honor of Nicolas Cage’s birthday month, the returning films will both feature Cage: âGhostriderâ on January 13 and âHoneymoon in Vegasâ on January 20.
âI think the atmosphere is very upbeat, very fun, very interactive,â White said. “I always tell my team before I start working to be nice to people and have fun, so I think the atmosphere our team will provide is fun and friendly.”
White and Hurlbut are eager to bring a new entertainment hub to the Big Sky community.
âThe cinema was a big part of the Big Sky community when it was open, and people miss it,â Hurlbut said. “We’re just trying to change it and offer something different for the Big Sky community and make it different from what’s already in town.”