Indianapolis’ Kan Kan Cinema opens after nearly 1.5-year delay

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INDIANAPOLIS — It’s no surprise local businesses suffered amid the pandemic, while many are still struggling because of it and some are finally reopening. 

Kan Kan Cinema on the near east side of Indianapolis in the Windsor Park neighborhood reopened its doors for the first time Friday. It closed its doors the very day it was supposed to open, March 15 of 2020.

“It was, you know, a rough year and a half, obviously,” said Edward Battista, founder and board member of Kan Kan Cinema. “We were supposed to open the day that we got shut down on March 15th. We gave a champagne toast and said, ‘Hey, we’ll call you back in a couple months.’”

After an intermission of sorts, it’s finally time to grab your popcorn, get a drink and find your seat. The movie is about to start. 

“We’re just excited to actually have our community coming through these doors,” Battista said. “We are relieved. We’re really happy to be able to start to launch this.”

Kan Kan Cinema, a Kurt Vonnegut reference, is no ordinary movie house. The three-screen, 300-seat, art-house cinema features first run independent movies along with fan favorites on occasion as well. 

“Just a little different than anything out there,” Battista said. “Our mission has been to connect film makers, film producers, actors, directors, people that are passionate about film in this community, and we wanted to create a space where we could have those conversations.”

That’s where Daniel Jacobson comes in. He decides what ends up on the silver screens. And for Battista and Jacobson, it’s all about conversation and connection. 

“It gave me goosebumps to realize that people are talking about movies again. I mean, we created this space because we feel the conversation around the film is just as important as the movie themselves,” Jacobson said. 

“The most important thing is people having a good time. If we do all this and nobody’s having fun, why are we doing it?” Battista added. “Getting people to connect, getting people to realize that the community around them, that you can have a broader conversation, we can know our neighbors names and really all come together.”

To ensure everyone can come together, Battista hopes guests will wear a mask and get vaccinated, though it’s not required. 

“If it’s required of you or not, you should feel a social responsibility to help protect the people that can’t,” Battista said “Everybody that can get vaccinated, should get vaccinated.

“If we go through a process where we’re limiting capacities again and shutting down, there are a lot of businesses that just barely made it through the pandemic, and if we have to go through that again, a lot of them will shut down.”

It’s imperative for the Kan Kan and it’s attached brasserie restaurant which needs customers to stay afloat. 

“To have that kind of wind taken out of our sails, it’s really hard to get that back,” Battista said. 

But with a strong opening Friday and a steady stream of customers filing in Monday evening, Batista believes the Kan Kan can and will succeed in fostering connections through film and food. 

“Really just all come together in this building, and use common themes in film to make those connections,” Battista said. 

The Kan Kan is open seven days a week from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. with showtimes throughout the evening. 

The Brasserie is open during the same time. 

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