Gene Siskel Film Center
164 N. State Street,
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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.
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