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Hit hard by worsening debts and competition from state of the art, multi-screen movie complexes, Baltimore’s historic Senator Theatre has been in foreclosure for the past year. Today, former owner, Tom Kiefaber, whose family has operated the theatre for 71 years, ended his time at the helm with two free public screenings of “Star Wars: A New Hope.”
Management of the iconic building is now in the hands of James “Buzz” Cusack, operator of another Baltimore cinema landmark, the Charles Theatre.
I’ll always remember watching “Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones” at the Senator Theatre in 2002. It is a sanctuary where great filmmaking has been displayed to Baltimore since the “Golden Age of Cinema.” Eight years later, through studying film theory in school and learning to tell stories through video this summer, I’ve developed a deeper appreciation for that same great filmmaking that has brought so many through the Senator’s doors.
“Magnificent,” replied Thomas Atkinson, dressed in full Jedi Master attire and wielding a lightsaber, when I asked him to use one word to describe the experience of watching a film in the Senator.
When the lights dimmed and the epic “Star Wars” theme song reverberated through the theatre, I knew exactly what he meant.