Little Cinema, Big Ideas

Photo courtesy of David Pokrivnak.

By Gabrielle Fellows

Photo courtesy of David Pokrivnak.
Photo courtesy of David Pokrivnak.

Youngstown’s art junkies and cinephiles will be gaining another attraction beginning in March. The Little Youngstown Cinema is a semi-monthly movie theater that will be screening Criterion Collection and Janus Films projects in various locations downtown.

David Pokrivnak, creator of the Little Youngstown Cinema, got the idea for the cinema after the independent movie theater in Austintown, Ohio closed down.

“I came up with the idea a few years ago. We actually did this a few years ago under the name Little Cedars Theater, because it was in the small room of the old Cedars bar,” Pokrivnak said. “Basically, I’m a fan of classic films and art films and there’s not really any representation of that in our area anymore, especially since the independent movie theater in Austintown closed down. I just wanted to sort of offer a catalyst for people interested in that sort of thing. There’s a lot of small art movement and niche things in Youngstown. It doesn’t take a lot to get things started around here.”

Pokrivnak brings all his own supplies to provide downtown Youngstown with films that would otherwise not be available. All of the movies shown are from Pokrivnak’s personal collection; one that he says contains “hundreds of movies.”

“I have a projector, a projector screen, an audio setup and licensing arrangements for the Criterion Collection and Janus Films. Next month, March, we’re going to begin playing movies,” he said. “Right now we’re moving locations until we find one to permanently use. We’re trying to just have a nice artful experience, trying to provide a little more culture to the area.”

The theater is something that is enjoyable, but is also a balancing act according to Pokrivnak.

“The theater’s a tricky thing to navigate because there’s different expectations — from what people have from what this is. For example, we’ll get a good strong interest for these events, but sometimes people will get up and walk out halfway through because they’re bored. I can see how this sort of thing can’t be for everyone,” Pokrivnak said. “Classic films have a different taste than modern films. People go into it with mislead expectations. If you’re watching a film from 1949, it’s not going to give you the same sort of stimuli as a Michael Bay film. As far as the catalogue goes, I’m trying to be pretty eclectic. I’m not going to pick one genre specifically. The collection offers quite a variety. I’d even like to go as far as saying possibly in the summer screening ‘RoboCop.’”

The first movie, “Bande à part,” will be shown March 10 at the Rust Belt Tap House at 9 p.m. More information about the Little Youngstown Cinema can be found at and at