The Film House

A project in Arts & Culture, by Daryn Zongrone


The Founder:
Daryn Zongrone is a recent graduate of USC Upstate in Spartanburg, SC. She has lived in Upstate South Carolina for about 15 years and feels a strong tie to Greenville, SC as much of her life has unfolded here. Upon taking her first film class, Daryn was immediately drawn to the education aspect of film and how it can teach things to the viewer. She loved the lectures concerning each film and found it fascinating how each film was made with such detail. It wasn’t long before she learned what made a good film “good” and a bad film “bad;” however, she has always believed that each person’s opinion is their own and film can mean many different things to different people so it is important to respect others’ interests.

In this spirit, she wants to create a space in Greenville where films of all genres could be shown, not just the Hollywood blockbusters. “We want to create a space where people feel comfortable coming to express their opinions and also confident that we’ll be showing quality cinema of all types,” Zongrone states. She wants people to know that when they come to The Film House, they’ll be sure to find something worth seeing.

Greenville, SC is more than ready for this type of independent theater in the downtown area. While the city is making headlines all across the nation (, the downtown area is growing economically. There are a few theaters on some major roads 5-10 miles away, but there is no small art theater focusing on indie films and repertoire movies. This project hopes to help Greenville join the ranks of all great cities by broadening film culture in the Upstate. We’ve already been endorsed by some of Greenville’s city officials and film enthusiasts.

“Greenville’s popular downtown is filled with public art, live theatre and music. The Film House Project will bring a needed addition to the many entertainment and arts venues along Main Street. I am confident it will be enthusiastically embraced by the community.”
— Knox White, Mayor of Greenville

“[Greenville] is definitely in need of a good arthouse theater.”
— Lawren Desai, Owner, Aperture Cinema in Winstom-Salem, NC

I completely support [The Film House]’s efforts to bring cinema arts to downtown. It’s something we’ve needed for a long, long time. (And my screenwriting students will, no doubt, be happy when the doors of The Film House open.)”
— Scott Gould, Chair, Creative Writing Department, S.C. Governor’s School for the Arts & Humanities

“Your theater will be a welcome addition to Greenville movie enthusiasts.”
— Mirie Agosto, Local film enthusiast

“I miss having an indie/foreign/strange movie option for Greenville and I hope the Film House finds nothing but great success!”
— Jeff Martell, Local resident/former Greenville film series director

“The Film House will be a place for quality movies, provoking discussions and building community.”
— Josh Dean, Local film enthusiast/writer

The Film House will be community-focused, showcasing local filmmakers and creating a hub for artists to gather and discuss their common interests. We’ve already received a great deal of support from the film community in the Upstate.

“Greenville has long needed a sustainable downtown cinema committed to programming new and classic films from both traditional studio distributors and emerging independent filmmakers.”
— Christ & Emily White, Local filmmakers/Owners/Directors, Paris Mtn Scout, Expecting Goodness Short Film Festival

“Greenville NEEDS independent cinema.”
— Daniel McCord, Local filmmaker/Owner, Dark Room Studios

“I truly believe that The Film House will play a huge role in the support and expansion of the film community locally. I also believe that it will not only nurture film culture, but also provide great entertainment for the general public” — Crystal Tyler, Owner, Jade Castle Studios

We will also have our roots in film education. While we will consistently show the most current indie and foreign films, we will also hold events at least once per month focused on the history/education of film. These events will include our film lecture series, film festivals, and theme nights.

“I think this idea is fantastic, I love how it’s independent film, local film, and classic cinema focused instead of just one of the three.”
— Nathan Bolin, Local resident

The Film House will be within walking distance to many downtown residents and attractions. The downtown area is growing exponentially and a source of entertainment like this in the area will see a lot of traffic.

We want to make The Film House a destination in the Upstate, so in addition to a theater we will be including a beer & wine bar. Bringing beer, and wine into the space will give patrons a place to linger while they discuss their thoughts on the film ….or even just a spot to meet up with friends and grab a drink. Local residents in the upstate are showing us an overwhelming amount of support:

“I live downtown and would definitely support an art-house theatre ANYWHERE in Greenville”

— Will Gray, Local resident

“I absolutely love the idea of this. I’ve been wanting something like it to come to Greenville. I will be a regular when The Film House opens.
— Jason Davis, Local resident

“I think this is a fantastic idea. As a lover of film and someone who is hoping to go to college to study film next year, I would love to finally have an art house theater here in Greenville.”
— Brendan Murphy, Local student

“**I am confident we have enough people who would support [The Film House], provided it was done right.** I’ve always thought it had to include some good food, good beer, and be a fun place to spend time. "
— Jason Tanenbaum, Local resident

“As a lover of movies I have been wishing and hoping for a local independent theater that can bring foreign, local, and independent films to Greenville!”
— Courtney Arms, Local resident

“I’m a local artist, musician, foodie, and avid cyclist. This is just what we need. …I am so for it.”
— Benjamin Pittman, Local resident

“This is exactly what Downtown Greenville needs”
— Courtney Vaughn, Local resident

“I love art-house theaters myself and will definitely be a supporter.”
— Cindy Hayes, Local resident

“Just what Greenville needs”
— Brenda Mcgregor, Local resident

“My wife & I moved to downtown Greenville a little over a year ago. Our only disappointment has been the lack of an Indie Theater. I tell people all the time that downtown needs one. I am grateful that [Daryn Zongrone] ha[s] the vision to make it happen.”
— Chuck Shealy, Local real estate consultant

As with all start-ups, we need money. ….and theaters are very expensive. Our overall goal is to raise somewhere between 1 and 1.5 million dollars. This money will go towards:
Prime real estate in a downtown location
Projection equipment
Seats, Sound systems, Lights, Screens and soundproofing
A bright beautiful marquee outside
Ovens & other kitchen equipment
Construction, Permits & Licenses
other misc. supplies

Although our overall financial goals are large, we are focusing on a small portion of that with this campaign. Right now, we will be shooting for $5,000 for these things:
Provide licensing for our current film series which helps us gain an audience and show interest to potential large investors
Conduct market research through other successful independent theaters

It may not seem like much, but it is a huge step in the right direction. This will only be the first part of the process and we’ll need this money to get started.
We have already raised funds through our latest Indiegogo campaign, and following this crowd-funding campaign we will be approaching private investors who have already shown interest in the project as well as looking into Angel Investors.

Donations will be received by Daryn Zongrone as sole proprietor. As of right now, The Film House is a for-profit organization, but we hope to transition into a nonprofit in the future.

We currently have an ongoing weekly film series at locally-owned Coffee Underground in downtown. Repertoire films have been our main focus, but we are also working in some more current independent cinema when possible. Attendance has been great, and we can’t wait to see it grow!

Our project has already been mentioned in several publications:
GSA Business:
Greenville Journal (page 35):
fete Greenville’s November issue featured general info, each subsequent issue will feature our film schedule:
The Greenville News: