Gene Siskel Film Center

164 N. State Street,
Chicago, IL 60601

Unfavorite 6 people favorited this theater

Gene Siskel Film Center, Chicago, IL

Viewing: Photo | Street View

One of the newer additions to Chicago’s Theater District in the North Loop is the Gene Siskel Film Center, which opened at its new location in June 2001. It formerly was at a small venue located near the Art Institute of Chicago and called simply the Film Center.

It was renamed in honor of the late Chicago Tribune film critic and Film Center supporter Gene Siskel, who passed away in 1999. A large portrait of the theater’s namesake greets vistors to its lobby upon entering the center. In addition to the main 200-seat auditorium, there is also a 64-seat smaller theater. The Film Center boasts cutting-edge projection equipment in various film and video formats, comfortable new seats, and clear sightlines. The lobby and public areas are modern and airy, and the stairway in the lobby is lit by large windows. The walls are decorated by classic movie posters and artwork.

In addition to the theaters, which screen art, industrial, foreign, and classic films, the Siskel Center features the Sandor Family gallery of rotating photographic exhibits, concession stands, and a small cafe area which has become a popular place to meet before and after shows. The Siskel Film Center shares a building with a dormitory for students of the Art Institute and a Borders Bookstore.

Ironically, the small Randolph Theater once sat near this same corner, but had been demolished in the 70s to make way for a parking garage which was in turn razed to make way for the present structure.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

xtopher1974
xtopher1974 on January 23, 2005 at 12:37 am

The building with the Film Center and the Borders is all part of a complex owned by the Art Institue — above the Borders in student dorms.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on August 31, 2006 at 8:16 pm

A fine tribute to a man I appreciated for many years. It’s too bad that Roger Ebert’s health is also problematic.

JeffCarlson
JeffCarlson on January 7, 2007 at 6:50 pm

This is the perfect venue for true cinephiles. Does anyone know if they ever installed a cellphone jammer system? They have a concession area (with liquor) but snacking in this type of theater seems kind of wrong.

CatherineDiMartino
CatherineDiMartino on July 9, 2007 at 2:43 pm

I’ve never been here before. What is this place like, physically? Is the interior plain, ot is there some atmosphere. As it is a twin, with a seating capacity of 264, it must be even “cozier” than the old 3 Penny was! I’d like to visit this place, but the movies all seem a little “esoteric” for my tastes, even though I like some of the “art” and “indie” fare that, say. the Pipers Alley shows.

JRS40
JRS40 on July 27, 2007 at 1:33 pm

Catherine – I wouldn’t say the interior of the auditoriums are anything special. It’s just a nice clean place to see a movie. The small theater is VERY cozy – especially when the theater is filled. You should check the schedule often as they play lots of non-indie fare too. Look at the first post where you can see movies like “Dirty Harry” and “Chinatown” played. The lobby is very nice with tables off to one side where you can sit before the movie starts if you want. You can also buy alcohol and coffees as well.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on November 4, 2008 at 10:37 pm

This thread reminded me that there is/was some type of professional screening room, in the old Loop Junior College building at 70 E. Lake St. between Wabash & Michigan Ave. Across from the Old Timers restaurant.

After the city renamed Loop Junior College the Harold Washington College, the new college was built across the street on the N/E corner of Wabash & Lake.
The old Loop College building was then presumably sold, but the 10th or 12th floor screening room remained.
I thought too that this facility had something to do with Gene Siskel. Even named after it at one time. Maybe it was the interim site until the State Street site could be built out. Is the Siskel Center in the ABC7/old State Lake Theatre building?

JRS40
JRS40 on November 4, 2008 at 11:17 pm

No the Siskel Film Center is just South of the old State Lake.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on November 5, 2008 at 12:42 am

Thanks JRS40 for the clarification.
I’ll also try and find out some history of that film screening facility on Lake Street.
From what I saw of it about 10 years ago, it had been built out in the `70’s. It had it’s own projection booth, theatre seating & restrooms.
An office some then colleagues of mine had rented, shared the restrooms.

Broan
Broan on August 23, 2011 at 12:19 pm

David – http://timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/film/75185/secrets-of-the-screening-room http://www.filmteknik.com/

Broan
Broan on August 23, 2011 at 12:19 pm

David – http://timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/film/75185/secrets-of-the-screening-room http://www.filmteknik.com/

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater