Seven Favorite Spots to See a Film in Phoenix

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There's no better escape than the one found in a theater seat in front of a large screen. Great films take their audiences to cool, faraway places with interesting characters and captivating stories.

Sure, you can hit up your local big box for the latest Hollywood hit, but if you're looking for an independent experience, here are seven of our favorite cinema escapes:

7. Phoenix Art Museum Phoenix Art Museum shows art films and films that relate to current museum exhibitions, and curators bring in experts and host post-film discussions. Don't bank on sneaking in snacks or grabbing a slushie at the front door, but do plan on seeing a cool independent film from movie makers around the world. Admission is usually free or $5 (depending on the event), and while you're there, check out some artwork.

6. The Hive The Hive's taking a bit of a summer vacation, but when the Downtown art gallery/community space/studio reopens in the Fall, expect to see a lineup of cool films to catch under the stars in the space's central ramada. Owners screened The Best of The Phoenix Film Festival series in January, and if we're lucky, they'll bring it back when the weather cools down. Admission is free.

5. Madcap Theaters After Harkins moved out of the theater space on Mill Avenue for fancier digs at nearby Tempe Marketplace, the Downtown Tempe Community (DTC) moved in and created the Mill Avenue District Community Arts Project (or MADCAP), which sought to reinvigorate the area through the reopening of this multi-purpose theater space. Since, they've brought in independent screenings, and regular shows by Cult Classics, a regular film series run by Victor Moreno. Tickets are around $10.

4. ASU Screenings Arizona State University is a great place to check out movie screenings and events, sometimes including visiting actors, screenwriters, and directors. Popcorn is served and admission is free to these screenings, which are held at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in downtown Phoenix.

3. SMoCA Lounge Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art hosts regular screenings in its nighttime hangout space, SMoCA Lounge, which are usually curated by No Festival Required's Steve Weiss. Tickets are typically $5 to $10, depending on the event, and attendees are welcome to check out the museum's current exhibitions after the show.

2. Pollack Tempe Cinemas When a new favorite film has left the chains, you can often count on finding it here - and at a severely reduced admission price. Films here may also be available for purchase, but sometimes it's just better (and, in this case, cheaper) to see them as they were meant to be seen. Tickets are $3, and $2 on Tuesdays.

1. Filmbar Downtown's FilmBar continues to draw audiences with its selection of independent and classic films and documentaries. The spots only a couple years old, but has already become a staple in the Roosevelt Row area for late-night hangouts, and grabbing a drink before catching a show. Tickets are $7, with $5 matinees (including 8 p.m. Mondays) and Filmbar staff's been known to toss patrons free tickets for a show on their birthdays.

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