This documentary film is about the motion picture theatre business. Texas's Interstate Theatres is featured in Before the Curtain Rises because its colorful history encompassed the golden era of theatrical exhibition, including the bawdy days of vaudeville, the glorious period of the movie palaces, and the extravagant showmanship of its industry leaders that often rivaled that of the movie stars and studios. But Interstate's history ends in the 1970's. Faced with the onslaught of television, the death of the studio system, and urban flight that crippled the company's downtown theatres, the company closed its doors. Our film, however, continues the story by following the struggle of the city of El Paso to bring back their shuttered Interstate movie palace, the Plaza Theatre. Along with its rebirth as a performing arts center, we examination how the modern exhibition business is reinventing itself.

Get swept up in this incredible story by exploring movie clips, still photos, and an interactive timeline from the Interstate Documentary Project. This site is the prototype for the online educational outreach component of the Project and we will be adding features to this area regularly.


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