Built originally as a Grange Hall in 1903, the building that houses the Moviehouse in Millerton has been a community hub from the start. In time, it was converted into a cinema with a ballroom upstairs. The only theater for a ways, the Moviehouse showed a wide range of films, 365 days a year since its birth in 1978—until COVID shut it down last March. But now, the small theater is slated to reopen by mid-June, with new proprietors David Maltby and Chelsea Altman at the helm.
“When I made the decision to find new leadership for The Moviehouse, I looked for people who shared our passion and enthusiasm for the cinema, art, and community,” says previous owner Carol Sadlon, who ran the Moviehouse for 43 years with her late husband Robert. She found what she was looking for in Altman and Maltby, an energized young New York couple with ties to the Millerton area.
An all-digital theater, the Moviehouse is known for screening first-run and independent films and documentaries on their four screens. The Gallery Cafe has historically showcased exhibits by local artists––voted Best of Hudson Valley in 2018 and “Best Hipster Hangout” by Hudson Valley magazine.
Altman and Maltby hope to bring fresh energy to this regional cultural center, getting the local artists, actors, and filmmakers involved in the film and nightlife offerings. “We have a lot of friends around here and people in and out of the film industry, and so we just want to make it a fun, vibrant base,” Maltby says. They have received lots of support and excitement from community members about their plans for the future. “People want more than just a movie. They want an experience, so we're going to offer that as well,” Altman says.
With Hollywood's recent move toward releasing films direct to TV, it might be surprising that that there were a whopping 11 bids on the property when the long-running cinema went up for sale. Out of candidates, Sadlon chose the couple with full confidence in their dedication and capability. “They are brilliant, creative people, skilled and successful in their current endeavors, with deep-seated ties to the community, and enthusiasm for the future of cinema arts,” she says.
Maltby and Altman are currently doing substantial interior renovations to the building, including installing an elevator and making over the second floor. “We're putting in a bar and applying for a beer and wine license,” Maltby says. “We want to create a lounge environment, and we are redesigning the smallest theater upstairs as well to make it much more comfortable and fun.”
Maltby grew up going to the Moviehouse. “It has a special place in my heart,” he says. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to continue Robert and Carol Sadlon’s legacy and carry The Moviehouse forward.”