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WEST LOS ANGELES-Landmark Theatres plans to open a new three-story venue to exhibit independent films at the Santa Monica-based Macerich Co.’s Westside Pavilion shopping center. The new venue will be called the Landmark Film Center and is scheduled to open in the summer of 2007.

The new center, a collaboration between Westside Pavilion and Landmark Theatres, will create what the two say is the largest independent film center in the country. The new Landmark Film Center will replace the current theater operating under Landmark Theatres’ management at Westside Pavilion.

The first floor of the film center will be occupied by several restaurants, with the second and third floors to feature 12 screens projecting independent films, plus a lounge and wine bar. In addition to serving as a venue for exhibiting films, the center also will partner with the Los Angeles motion picture industry and area film schools to promote the education and training for careers in the film industry.

Yet another goal of the center will be to provide a venue for screening the works of up-and-coming film makers, notes Ted Mundorff, Landmark Theatres’ VP of film and chief film buyer. “The importance of independent film to the entertainment industry has increased substantially over the last few years,” Mundorff comments. In recent years, independent films have been a driving force in the film industry, taking home a majority of the industry’s top awards in 2006.

Landmark is already known for showing independent films, notes Laurel Crary, senior property manager for Westside Pavilion. The company calls itself the nation’s largest theater chain devoted exclusively to art and independent film, with 57 theaters in 23 markets.

The Landmark Film Center will be accessible from the street and via a bridge connecting it to Nordstrom and Westside Pavilion. It will provide free parking in a structure that is scheduled to reopen with the center in June 2007.

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