Once upon a time in Fresno, there were several local movie theaters that showed Spanish-language films.
Armida Espinoza remembers spending every weekend going to the Azteca Theatre to see Spanish-language movies. That theater closed years ago.
That loss upset Espinoza, who wants children and families today to have access to the kind of Spanish-language movies she remembers growing up seeing. Thats why she started CineAméricas where she screens Spanish films at 2 and 4:14 p.m. Sundays at the Tower Theatre, 815 E. Olive Ave.
I began to wonder what happened to the movie theaters that showed Spanish films, Espinoza says. I started researching and it got under my skin. There had not been one here in over 20 years. I kept waiting for someone to start one but finally decided it would have to be me.
March 14's Spanish film, Gigante, is the story of a lonely security guard who falls for a cleaning woman. Horacio Camandule and Leonor Svarcas star.
Espinoza has had no trouble getting G, PG and PG-13 movies to show. She will screen films from Latin America, Spain and Mexico and will only show family-friendly movies.
To generate interest in the movies, Espinoza has given more than 1,000 tickets to schools and local nonprofit organizations. All of the screenings in March will be free to the public. When she does start charging for tickets, the price will be $7 for adults, $6 for seniors and $5 for children.
I am confident that the community will embrace the idea of bringing back to life the experiences of going to the theater and seeing the wonderful films coming out of Mexico like in days past, Espinoza says. For more information go to cineamericas.com or call (559) 434-CINE.
TV and movie critic Rick Bentley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (559) 441-6355. Read his blog at fresnobeehive.com.