Winter Park’s Enzian is a hidden gem for film buffs
Published: Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 18:04
As you walk up to the doors of Enzian it is not like any theater you've ever been to before.
Hidden off of South Orlando Avenue in Maitland, Enzian's neon sign ushers you in. The outdoor restaurant and bar, lush with plants and glowing with strings of lights, provides a relaxed and sophisticated feel that only this Central Florida staple can give.
"There are all these circular tables that make it look like restaurant and then you notice there's a screen and you can watch a movie. It's a very comfortable environment," said Jeph Alexander, a senior film major and marketing assistant for Enzian theater.
The theater seats 70 people at three different levels for easy viewing and its restaurant serves more than 200 movie-goers as they watch their film.
"[I like] how exclusive it is. It's nice that it's like a cottage and it doesn't feel like a regular theater," said senior English major Robert Miller.
Alexander, like many UCF film students originally volunteered with Enzian and then interned, which then led to a full-time job.
Enzian also created a film archive at UCF in 2000. A number of UCF students are a part of Brouhaha, a film festival and competition for Florida filmmakers every year, according to Jordana Meade, marketing and public relations manager.
"I was happy that I knew about it after seven or eight months of living here," Alexander said about finding out about the theater. "I couldn't get that underground feeling I was used to before, I just saw what everyone else was seeing."
Founded by Tina Tiedke and the Tiedke family in 1985, the not-for-profit theater shows first-run independent films and international films.
Among several events, such as the screening of the UCF alumni film The Blair Witch Project and having Academy Award-winning and nominated actors such as Glenn Close and John Voigt, Enzian also hosts the Florida Film Festival every year in the spring.
Miller said that as a student, he found the theater a bit too pricey which keeps him from going as often as he would like.
Alexander had some suggestions for cost-friendly Enzian events for students to attend.
"One thing I think students love is Cult Classics," Alexander said. "We take some really old, retro movies that are at least 10 years old, and play them on 10 millimeter film, which is cool because it's on a film reel. It has that feeling like it's on the silver screen again."
Alexander said Cult Classics occur once a month with $5 admission on Tuesday nights at 9:30 p.m. He also recommended Popcorn flicks, which is a series of free movies shown outside in Winter Park's Central Park on Sundays once a month.
Wednesday Night Pitcher shows are also free outside Enzian. If someone is not of age to sample the wine and beer, which includes microbrews and custom cocktails, there's good food.
"Being on the UCF side of town, it's a very chain-oriented environment but Enzian is a great place to go for something different. And you can hang out at the Eden bar whether you see a movie or not," Alexander said. "Also the Enzian has films that you won't see any where else. They are films people have probably never heard of people won't get to see unless it randomly pops up on their Netflix queue. For Winter Park, Maitland and Orlando in general, it's unique."
For more information on Enzian, visit its website at www.enzian.org.