Indywood is to art movie houses what The Friendly Bar is to New Orleans dive bars. Both Marigny spots are eclectic and diverse, offering an off-the-beaten-track neighborhood experience you just can’t find uptown. And both spots are fiercely local, delivering an authentic vibe for a traveler interested in drilling deeper than the usual tourist destinations.
Led by siblings Hayley and Will Sampson, the venue opened in January. It was then upgraded a bit in June, and now Indywood continues to screen interesting flicks in a BYO setting.
The former Wash-Dry-Fold at 630 Elysian Fields Ave. in the buzzing Marigny neighborhood is more than just a screening house. The dynamic duo owners run workshops to support local filmmakers and give more than lip service to featuring locally made movies, documentaries and shorts. Locally made films like The Power of Few and Beast of the Southern Wild are often in the spotlight.
A world of indie films is behind the red curtains at Indywood — Photo courtesy of Beth D'Addono
The place is a trip. Outside, a retro Hollywood-style sign announces the business. A sandwich board is usually at the curb, announcing the schedule and often sporting hand-written updates.
Regular tickets go for $7, matinees for $5 and double features for $12. You can bring your own libations, and the concession stand offers real popcorn and treats at affordable prices.
The theater itself is worth the admission price. The Sampsons picked up the 30-odd seats at a clearing house for upcycled (Read used.) hotel furniture. The red boardroom chairs are comfy and seem to vaguely announce an important meeting is about to occur. A bank of outlets along the wall is what’s left of the washing machines that used to live there.
Clearly a labor of love, Indywood is exactly what young, earnest filmmakers would create on a shoestring budget, with visions of moviemaking success dancing in their heads.
Indywood is housed in a former washateria in the Marigny — Photo courtesy of Beth D'Addono
Will Sampson is a filmmaker himself. He made his 2011 documentary New Orleans Spirits by raising $2000 on Kickstarter. It’s described on the New Orleans Film Society website like this: “At times a poem, at times a video essay, New Orleans Spirits is an experimental exploration of the various forms of faith that keep the city thriving.”
Will's goal is collaboration with the community and support for emerging filmmakers.
Along with movies like Nymphomania I and II, Lars Von Trier's most recent film about sexuality and humanity, and the Paul Rudd rom-com They Came Together, moviegoers can dip into oddball special events like the recent Barbarella costume party and screening and the Ghostbusters’ birthday party.
You love movies? You love supporting local? You’ll love Indywood.