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Winter Park / Maitland Observer Thursday, Feb. 18, 2010 10 years ago

Maitland City Talk

by: Doug Kinson

Enzian turns 25!

Maitland and Central Florida celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Enzian Theater by proclaiming Monday, Feb. 15, 2010 as Enzian Theatre Day. Sigrid Tiedke, owner, and Henry Maldonado, Enzian's new president, were my hosts for this most prestigious evening.

Twenty-five years ago, Tina Tiedtke celebrated the opening of Enzian with a screening of the 1919 silent classic "Broken Blossoms". Lillian Gish attended that showing and from that day on, Enzian has been an important fixture in the community — a temple to the cinematic spirits and, to quote a regular guest, "the only civilized way to watch a movie."

The Enzian Theater began as a repertory house, offering six to 12 classic films each week as well as the occasional live show. By 1989, Enzian had refocused and moved into the then-risky field of showing first-run independent features.

But most importantly, it was Tina's dream to create a gathering place for the community — a place that serves as a home base to connect and celebrate the magic of the movies. Today, the Enzian Theater is Central Florida's only full-time, not-for-profit alternative cinema.

Enzian illuminates the silver screen nightly as well as the hearts and minds of its supporters. Today, Enzian entertains, inspires and educates the community through film; and has championed the belief that "Film is Art." To date, Enzian has served nearly 2 million guests in the past quarter of a century.

Enzian has grown to become one of the top grossing first-run independent film theaters in the nation, producing five cultural film festivals including the world renowned Florida Film Festival. Its 25th anniversary is a celebration of the vision that has gone into maintaining its mission: to entertain, inspire, educate and connect the community through film. The success of the Florida Film Festival is evidence of this commitment.

The Florida Film Festival, founded in 1992, showcases and celebrates the finest in American independent and foreign films. The festival provides continuing education and support for the emerging Florida filmmaking community and greatly enhances the region's cultural identity, providing exposure to film art of varying genre.

Henry Maldonado recently became the new president of the Enzian Theater. He has lived and breathed the Enzian Theater over the years and is now in a position to be able to spread the word of the Enzian, not only nationally with the Florida Film Festival, but just as importantly, locally.

Henry's dream is to market the Enzian not just as a movie destination, but also a community destination, where patrons come from all around to enjoy a movie, a meal or a beverage in one of the most spectacular surroundings in the area.

The city of Maitland is honored to be the home of Enzian Theater, which has offered a wonderful opportunity for residents, visitors and businesses to enjoy annual film festivals, and much more. I am proud to have been a part of such a trendsetting organization and look forward to enjoying all that the Enzian has to offer in the future.

—Portions of this article have been provided by the Enzian Theater.

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