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Arthouse and indie films have a home in Des Moines again. Local film folks finally have a place to gather – one that combines a unique history with all the essential modern movie-going conveniences filmgoers love.

On Thursday, December 15, The Varsity Cinema will open and the big screen will light up with a mix of new and classic films, including Singin’ in the Rain, Decision to Leave, White Noise, Elf, and Lost Cinemas of Des Moines. Tickets for reopening weekend are on sale now.

We (the nonprofit Des Moines Film) can’t wait for you to enjoy these films– and the many more to come– now that The Varsity’s $5 million restoration is ready to be unveiled. When the theater reopens, you’ll see a completely refurbished space both inside and out. We’ve added a second auditorium, expanded the lobby, upgraded concessions with a full bar, and made the building fully accessible. Our goal was to preserve the historic touches of the cinema while improving the space for a classic yet modernized movie-going experience.

About The Varsity: After the theater closed its doors December 31, 2018, Des Moines Film purchased the building– the last remaining historic theater in Des Moines– and began a massive renovation to bring back the movies and preserve the designated local landmark. Community support rallied behind the effort with city, county and state government; corporate foundations, and more than 1,000 individuals donating to the project.

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