Exterior of the Trylon Cinema, April 2018
|Former names||Trylon Microcinema|
|Address||2820 East 33rd Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States|
|Opened||July 17, 2009|
The Trylon Cinema (formerly Trylon Microcinema) is a 92-seat movie theater in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The cinema was founded and is currently run by Take-Up Productions, a group of volunteers who got their start at the Oak Street Cinema before establishing the Trylon in 2009 within a former warehouse. A 2017 expansion resulted in an increase in the cinema's seating capacity and accessibility. Throughout its history, the venue has featured a variety of regular programming, ranging from career retrospectives of famous directors to B movies and cult films. The Trylon has been well received by critics who have praised its film lineup, intimacy, and atmosphere.
Minneapolis's Oak Street Cinema, a volunteer-run repertory cinema, ran films seven days per week until cutbacks in programming had to be made for financial reasons. A collective of the Oak Street volunteers formed Take-Up Productions, which was established to promote showing films not typically screened in larger movie houses. The organization began with outdoor screenings, starting with Watermelon Man, which was projected against a white brick wall behind a coffee shop, and then began to rent out theaters throughout the Minneapolis–Saint Paul area, including the Riverview, Heights, and Parkway. Some screenings, such as that of Lawrence of Arabia and a series of Alfred Hitchcock films, drew hundreds of viewers.
Barry Kryshka of Take-Up Productions, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, oversees and manages the Trylon. The cinema sits in an old warehouse in the Longfellow neighborhood along Minnehaha Avenue that was rented, in 2009, at a rate of $800 a month. Kryshka contracted Bright Star Systems, Inc. to retrofit the space with 50 old rocking seats purchased from a nearby cinema chain, a 20-foot (6.1 m) projection screen, two 35 mm movie projectors, and a minute concessions stand. Trylon acquired its name from an eponymous theater in Kryshka's native Queens, New York, itself named for the Trylon sculpture at the 1939 New York World's Fair. Founded as Trylon Microcinema, the movie house opened on the weekend of July 17–18, 2009, with a showing of Sherlock Jr. featuring live musical accompaniment from Dreamland Faces, a local accordion–musical saw duo. Each of the venue's first 12 showings sold out.
The Trylon closed for three months in summer 2017 as Kryshka supervised a major renovation and expansion of the theater, at a projected cost of $175,000. MSR Design of Minneapolis worked pro bono to create updated architectural plans. As part of the renovation, the entrance was moved from Minnehaha Ave to 33rd Street. An outdoor courtyard was created outside the entrance, a new lobby and concession stand were built, and the space was updated to be more accessible to wheelchair users. The auditorium was expanded from 50 to 92 seats, and a new screen and sound system were added. Relinquishing the Microcinema moniker, the movie house reopened as the Trylon Cinema over the weekend of September 22–24, 2017, with screenings of Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator.
Programming and reception
Every three months, the Trylon Cinema publishes a full schedule of screenings, approximately 10 percent of which are of first run films. The venue features a variety of regular exhibitions, ranging from the Trash Film Debauchery series of B movies, to the Defenders in which local cinephiles curate and defend screenings of personal favorite cult films, to Sound Unseen, a documentary project covering behind-the-scenes aspects of musicians' creative processes. The Trylon also hosts showcases of the films throughout various directors' careers. Take-Up Productions continues to use other venues such as the Heights and the Riverview for screenings necessitating larger houses. The Cinema is staffed almost entirely with volunteers.
Critical reception for the Trylon has been positive. It was voted the best movie theater in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul area in 2011, 2012 and 2018 by City Pages, which stated in 2018 that the cinema "offers film series and selections you won't find anywhere else in Minnesota. That includes kung fu hits, golden-era Hollywood movies, rare music documentaries, B-horror flicks, and, thanks to monthly sessions with Trash Film Debauchery, really weird films that time forgot". In an unranked list of Minneapolis–Saint Paul's best cinemas written for WCCO, Eric Henderson called the Trylon the "pluckiest upstart in the Twin Cities" and described the experience of walking into the theater as "stepp[ing] onto the set of a Michel Gondry fantasy-noir about a scrappy theater thriving in the midst of a Prohibition-style ban on the moviegoing experience." J. L. Sosa lauded the Trylon on Film School Rejects, praising the concessions selection, the physical intimacy of the space, and the cinema's programmers for their "impeccable taste in both high- and lowbrow culture."
- Kerr, Euan (July 17, 2009). "Microcinema backers think small, hope big". MPR News. Archived from the original on January 3, 2016. Retrieved December 20, 2015.
- Nelson, Rob (November–December 2009). "Microcinemas: Big Screen, Little Risk". Utne Reader. Archived from the original on January 3, 2016. Retrieved December 25, 2015.
- Nelson, Rob (July 10, 2009). "Screen of Dreams: Trylon microcinema set to open on Minnehaha". MinnPost. Archived from the original on January 3, 2016. Retrieved December 25, 2015.
- Espeland, Pamela (May 31, 2017). "Trylon is growing, but first some special treats; Franken at Humphrey School event". MinnPost. Archived from the original on July 5, 2017. Retrieved October 14, 2017.
- Schmitt, Paul (December 1, 2014). "Four David Bowie films (yes, including Labyrinth) to play at the Trylon Microcinema". 89.3 The Current. Archived from the original on January 3, 2016. Retrieved January 2, 2016.
- Covert, Colin (September 21, 2017). "Trylon remodeling is a really big deal for the Minneapolis repertory movie house". Star Tribune. Archived from the original on October 4, 2017. Retrieved October 14, 2017.
- Sosa, J. L. (January 26, 2014). "Movie Houses of Worship: Minneapolis's The Trylon Microcinema". Film School Rejects. Archived from the original on October 19, 2015. Retrieved January 2, 2016.
- "Best Movie Theater (2011): The Trylon". City Pages. 2011. Retrieved January 2, 2016.
- "Best Movie Theater (2012): The Trylon". City Pages. 2012. Retrieved January 2, 2016.
- "Best Movie Theater: Trylon Cinema". City Pages. 2018. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
- Henderson, Eric (December 8, 2010). "Best Movie Theaters In The Twin Cities". WCCO-TV. Archived from the original on September 22, 2015. Retrieved January 2, 2016.