This article was originally published at OHIO: Compass.

     Photo courtesy of College of Fine Arts

     Photo courtesy of College of Fine Arts

The Athena Cinema, Athens' Court Street theater, celebrates a birthday few other cinemas in the nation can claim on June 3 – 100 consecutive years of operation as a cinema.

On June 3, 1915, the grand opening of the Athena featured the popular Mary Pickford silent film, "Cinderella." To mark its 100th year, the Ohio University College of Fine Arts’ art house movie theater is hosting a free open house birthday celebration and will feature a rare screening of Pickford’s "Cinderella," complete with musical accompaniment. In keeping with the centennial spirit, the theater is offering the same admission price it did in 1915 – 5 cents for children and 10 cents for adults.

Operations Director Alexandra Kamody says securing the rights to screen the picture was a challenge but well worth the effort.

“We were incredibly lucky to be able to locate this film and secure the rights to play it,” Kamody said. “The odds that we would find it seemed very slim at first since it’s estimated that between 75-90 percent of silent films have been lost. After a little digging, we found out about the Mary Pickford Foundation in Los Angeles. When we reached out to Foundation with a copy of the Grand Opening ad from 1915, they were thrilled. They have been instrumental in helping us bring back the film 100 years later.”

The celebration will begin with a free, community open house at the theater from 6 to 7 p.m. As a nod to Athens’ robust local food options, the event will feature cake from several area bakeries and restaurants including Casa Nueva, Purple Chopstix and Fluff and complimentary champagne.

Guests are then encouraged to walk down Court Street to the Wilhelm Amphitheater in front of Scripps Hall for the OHIO School of Music’s popular “Under the Elms Concert Series” event. The free concert titled, “Athena Cinema at 100: A Musical Celebration” pays homage to movies, vaudeville and the year 1915. The concert will take place from 7 to 7:45 p.m. (The 2015 concert series has moved to the Amphitheater due to construction on OHIO’s College Green).

Guests return to the Athena Cinema for the 8 p.m. screening of "Cinderella." The rare screening of this silent era gem will feature a live performance by musician Derek DiCenzo. This is a one-time only event and seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Posters and T-shirts commemorating this once-in-a-lifetime event and memberships to the Athena Cinema will be available for purchase at the event.

The Athena Cinema will be hosting several events throughout 2015 to celebrate its rich history in the communities it serves. Learn more about the Athena Cinema’s 100th anniversary programming at