Some Cinestudio staff members - November 2015

Some Cinestudio staff members – November 2015

Some Cinestudio Staff Members - 2013 Staff – 2013

Some of the folks who bring you the movies at Cinestudio.

Cinestudio is a not-for-profit independent film theater, a classic old-style movie house located on Summit Street at College Terrace in Hartford, at the campus of Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, not far from downtown. The theater is a magnificent single-screen venue with 485 seats, including a much loved balcony. The building is a signature design by McKim, Mead and White, built in 1935.
Founded in 1970 by a group of students at Trinity, Cinestudio has become one of the most highly respected arthouse cinemas in the United States, with a long standing reputation for its wide diversity of programing, and for legendary projection and sound quality. Recently equipped with the highest quality 4K Digital Cinema systems, Cinestudio has also retained it’s top-of-the-line physical film 35mm and 70mm projectors for use in studio archive presentations. Cinestudio is a daily celebration of the Art of Cinema!


Cinestudio was founded in 1970 by a group of students at Trinity College. The film obsessed students found a home in a little used lecture hall with troubled acoustics in the Clement Chemistry Building. Within two years, they turned the space into a beautiful recreation of a 1930s film house. The sound issues were fixed, with the help of Ralph Mauro of National Theater Supply and Lonny Jennings at Dolby, and Cinestudio held its grand opening to the public February 16, 1970, showing a sold-out double feature of Alice’s Restaurant and The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine. Cinestudio made its mark early by showing controversial new cinema, foreign classics like the works of Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, epic films like Stanley Kubrick’s 2001, A Space Odyssey – shown on the huge, newly installed 70mm screen – and debuting future cult classics like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Harold and Maude and Eraserhead. Cinestudio still runs today as a cooperative, with students overseeing most aspects of the theater’s operation.

As a cooperative operation, Cinestudio continues to provide a unique opportunity for young people to learn how to operate a fully professional movie theater to the highest technical standards. Two founding members, James Hanley and Peter McMorris, have guided the theater since its inception and now manage its day-to-day operation, including all nightly projection. A staff of approximately 50 student and community volunteers run showings seven days a week.

In 2002, Cinestudio incorporated as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit arts organization. The theater now is independent of Trinity College, although it still occupies the same space in the college’s chemistry building.

In 2007, the theater’s ticket booth was renamed the Fred Pfeil Memorial Ticket Booth in honor of late Trinity College professor and much loved long-time Cinestudio volunteer and board member, Fred Pfeil.

Recent articles

The Hartford Courant

Old-School Theater A Ticket To Movie Magic

Cinestudio At Trinity College, Now 40 Years Old, Is A Hartford Treasure

Elegant Curtain Still Rises At Cinestudio — Courant.com

Connecticut Magazine

Best of Connecticut Diversions 2010

Best Independent Cinema

“After 40 years (the theater celebrated its anniversary in March with a screening of Up in the Air), Cine studio is still one of the best-kept secrets—and most worthwhile diversions—on the Trinity College campus. Nestled within the school’s 1935 McKim, Mead, and White-designed Clement Chemistry Building and graced movie-palace style with a dramatic red interior, gold Austrian shade curtain and 70mm projection capability, it’s become the go-to community destination for fans of all films: classics, foreign, animé, Hollywood and indie releases.”

©Connecticut Magazine 2010

Connecticut Magazine

Best of Connecticut Diversions 2009

Best Independent Cinema

“How do we love Cinestudio? Let us count a few ways: 1. It’s modeled after the classic movie palaces of the 1930s, with a mind-blowing, custom-made gold Austrian shade curtain. 2. After 40 years, it still schedules the best-and sometimes impossible to find elsewhere-in classic, current, foreign and indie films. 3. A not-for-profit arts organization, it’s largely managed by a volunteer army of 50 Trinity College students (the campus on which the theater stands) and community members: One early volunteer was Trinity alum and Hollywood director Stephen Gyllenhaal (father of actors Maggie and Jake). 4. Its ubiquitous lion logo was inspired by the “lion courant” in A Lion in Winter and is thus the coolest lion since MGM’s Leo.”

©Connecticut Magazine 2009

Connecticut Magazine

Best of Connecticut Nightlife 2008

Best Independent Cinema

“Who’d have thunk it-a classic old-style movie house with a custom-made Austrian shade curtain, fabulous acoustics and state-of-the-art projection capability-all nestled within the Trinity College chemistry building? Nearing its 40th anniversary, this Hartford icon still garners deserved cheers for its programming, which deftly mixes current commercial releases with silver-screen classics, art-house premieres, foreign films and the occasional dash of anime.”

©Connecticut Magazine 2008

The Hartford Bucket List

Thirty-three things to do in the Hartford area before you die

Thursday, September 25, 2008. By Adam Bulger

“If you live in or around Hartford, you know that Cinestudio at Trinity College is the premier destination for film-lovers in the area. Originally a school lecture hall, the space was converted in a glorious ’30s-style movie palace, complete with a balcony, in 1970. The fare varies from independent and foreign films to second-run major studio pictures. But no matter what’s on the screen, show up early to secure the back row center seats, and prepare to be hypnotized by the curtains.”