There will be a groundbreaking ceremony Monday for the Arcade, the River Market district's latest addition, and a portion of it will likely serve as a home for the Little Rock Film Festival. Central Arkansas Library System Director Bobby Roberts said the library hasn't yet signed a management agreement, but that the LRFF, founded by filmmakers Craig and Brent Renaud, will probably be the "primary managers" of the $2.8 million, 310-seat theater to be housed in the Arcade. Roberts said the library will use the theater, which is outfitted with a state-of-the-art digital projector for both films and powerpoint presentations, for speakers and children's events, as well as state-of-the art sound systems optimized for movies and concerts, and that it will be open to the public as well for use, but that he expects with Film Festival programming, the theater will seldom go dark. Roberts said library staff will meet next week with Craig Renaud and Clinton School Dean Skip Rutherfordar on logistics.
The new theater means the LRFF — whose programming now includes the annual film festival, the Reel Civil Rights Festival, the Little Rock Horror Pictures Show and the Argenta Film Series — could offer weekly film screenings year round.
The three-story, 51,000-square-foot building will also include Cache restaurant, a project of Rush Harding and his son, chef Payne Harding; space for the Arkansas Studies Institute and the Clinton School; and the insurance firm Meadors Adams & Lee on the third floor. The theater is called the Arcade Cinema for now; that could change. The library will own 52.4 percent of the building and Harding and a third group that includes downtown developers Jimmy Moses and Rett Tucker will own the rest in what is called a "horizontal property regime," operated like a condominium, with a management board.