Cinefest closes its doors for the fall semester

Cinefest remains closed to students during the fall semester. Photo by Matt Siciliano-Salazar | The Signal

Georgia State’s Cinefest is a student-run movie theater that has been a treasured part of the Atlanta campus since 1991. It’s known for featuring a variety of movies including box office bestsellers, independent, classic, foreign and cult films. 

Compared to the $15 tickets other movie theaters sell, Cinefest tickets are free for students and only $5 for guests. Visitors can also buy popcorn, a drink and candy for less than $5. 

Cinefest is revered among movie lovers. The theater isn’t only a fan favorite for Georgia State students, but is also admired by many Atlanta residents. With a 4.5 star Google rating and glowing online reviews, it is truly a treasured Atlanta landmark. 

A Google review from Kelly Homenick shows that students weren’t the only ones who visited the theater.

One of the most amazing places to see a big action movie,” Homenick said. “The screen and sound are second to none. The decor is also incredible and reminds you of a time when movies were a big deal. Definitely visit if you can.”

The theater has so much to offer and is a source of joy for so many people; that is until the reality of 2020 struck. Like so many other adored businesses on campus, Cinefest has closed its doors for the fall 2020 semester. Due to COVID-19, the theater will not be showing any films until at least spring of 2021.

News of the cinema’s closure was a harsh reality for the Panther community. With many students constantly finding themselves on a budget, a free movie theater to take a date or meet up with friends was a practical and fun option for Saturday night plans.

As Cinefest gathers dust, students reflect on fond memories made in the theater’s seats. 

Georgia State graduate Karina Barrientos went to the theater regularly. 

“I loved going to Cinefest,” she said. “I love going to the movies, and tickets at movie theaters are unnecessarily overpriced. Cinefest was free for students and offered all the movies that I loved. It’s sad to hear they won’t be screening anything this semester.” 

Yasmien Ghoneim is a big movie lover who has been going to see movies at the theater since before her time at Georgia State. 

“I have always been a huge Marvel fan,” Ghoneim said. “I remember so many nights in high school when my friends and I would meet up at the theater and watch the movies together. They also had amazing snacks and drinks, and the theater was so nice too.” 

While Cinefest may be closed for the semester, the memories made there are reminding people of simple times during the bland and bleak routine of quarantine. The theater brought happiness to so many Georgia State students and will continue to be a staple of the Atlanta campus for years to come. 

The doors may be closed until it is safe to return to theaters, but many will wait patiently until they can once again get their $5 snacks, meet up with friends and enjoy the show.