Not all movies have mega million backers. Some of the most cutting-edge, foreign, artistic and/or controversial films are produced by independent film makers and directors. Not surprisingly, these indie movies are often low budget and sometimes even draw cult appeal. People with a penchant for films that are not made by the big Hollywood studios have indie films as alternatives. Those who appreciate art enjoy these movies, which tend to connect more directly and therefore more personally with the audience. Here are five of the top indie movie theaters in Connecticut.

Madison Art Cinemas
761 Boston Post Road
Madison, CT 06443
(203) 245-3456

Offering a “highly personalized” film experience to the public, Madison Art Cinemas is known for its first-run films. These various movies range from first-run domestic and foreign films to special event presentations. In addition to offering an artistic option to the movie-going public, the Madison Art Cinemas serves as a sort of artistic community center. Here, local groups and organizations hold fundraisers and sponsor community-oriented special events. Definitely user-friendly, Madison Art Cinemas has a fine reputation.

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56 Arbor St.
Hartford, CT 06106
(860) 232-1006

According to Real Art Ways, a “world class cinema” was built in order to offer its patrons the ultimate indie movie experience. Innovative independent movies drew a passionate fan base and for 18 years, this theater offered indie films every day for 18 years. Currently, the theater is moving into the digital age. This means that the theater is doing fundraising events to keep this alternative movie choice available to the public.

Bantam Cinema
115 Bantam Lake Road
Bantam, CT 06750
(860) 567-1916

Here’s a theater that has been true to its purpose since 1927. With such longevity and such an impressive timeline, this theater moved from early silent movies that actually had an organ accompanist to provide music to the film to the special indie format that has been its mainstay. Through the years, an art gallery was added and still the indie film reigned and continues to this day. Foreign and classic films are now presented here. The theater became known as an “art house” and to make the theater-going experience even more memorable, a concession stand and renovated lobby were added. Eventually, a second screen was included adding additional opportunities for indie film showings.

Avon Theatre Film Center
272 Bedford St.
Stamford, CT 06901
(203) 967-3660

Specializing in documentary, foreign, educational and classic films, this theater has been true to its original mission statement by “presenting film in its highest forms: as art, as history, as education and as a window on the world.” Taking pride in its “compelling formats,” it offers the finest independent artistic films to its theater-going public. This theater is actually an historic landmark dating back to 1939. It continues to offer alternative films for its dedicated fan base. This non-profit venue also provides guest appearances with local actors and directors to add to the community’s dialogue with art. The theater itself is also quite stunning.

300 Summit St.
Hartford, CT 06106
(860) 297-2544

Located on the Trinity College campus, this independent cultural gem features a “single-screen venue.” Best known for its controversial movies, it has a unique signature in the world of indie classics when it comes to cult films. It is also a sight to behold. Not only does it feature an “operational gold screen curtain,” but it has a balcony. The students who created this facility in 1970 set it up as a cooperative endeavor with students overseeing the entire operation. It is hard to imagine the cult film “The Rocky Horror Show” not being shown around the time of Halloween every year.

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Joanne Greco Rochman is the arts editor of The Fairfield County Review, a columnist, critic, feature story writer and English professor. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Republican-American and Hersam-Acorn Publications. Her work can be found at