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Travel to Paris


Studio 28, Paris

1 May 2014

Questions: Andrew Birbeck / Answers: Alain Roulleau, Owner/director of Studio 28

Can you tell us a little about the Roulleau family’s involvement with Studio 28?
My father, who was a film producer, bought the cinema in 1948, although it dates back a further 20 years. I’m the third generation of the family to be involved, and I worked there from a very young age. I grew up just behind Studio 28. In fact, the building adjoins the apartment where I still live. 

You worked for United Artists and 20th Century Fox. What prompted you to leave all that behind and return to your roots?
I was a publicist for both of those companies for many years. Then, in 1994, when my uncle, who was then running the cinema, died, I took a year out to see if Studio 28 really could survive, and even flourish. Maybe I wanted to fight against the modern way of screening movies, you know, big multiplexes and so on. Or perhaps I just love this old movie theatre. I’ve known it for such a long time, it’s part of me. 

Did you ever consider selling up?
No, for me it’s too full of nostalgia, but it’s also full of ghosts. My grandmother died at the cashier’s desk after selling the last ticket for the evening show. One night many years later, my father passed away suddenly after the day’s final screening. Maybe I’ll go the same way, but I don’t plan to. Who knows, perhaps someday one of my sons will take over from me. I hope so. 

You’ve made considerable improvements. How did these come about, and what does the future hold?
Back in 1994 it really needed some freshening up and, most importantly, new ideas. First came redecoration – revamped decor, new seats, upgraded projection system – and then a programme adapted to the current market. After that I created a café-bar with an adjoining patio. The next step is to buy the premises next door and build a whole new reception area. 

What’s been your proudest moment and why?
There are so many terrific memories it’s hard to choose. A real highlight, though, was when Marion Cotillard came to present the Edith Piaf biography she starred in and won an Oscar for, La Vie en Rose (2007). Every Tuesday evening is fantastic, too, as that’s when my great friend and neighbour, the film director Claude Lelouch, drops by. 

Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s homage to Montmartre, Amélie (2001), featured Studio 28. Did you meet Audrey Tatou?
Jean Pierre did shoot a sequence here and, yes, I met Audrey. She was unknown back then but already had that special star quality – her eyes, her smile, very unassuming and completely natural. Why go to Studio 28? It’s a unique, relaxing and completely authentic Parisian experience. It’s also the oldest cinema in Paris and has never closed since first opening. Studio 28 is the place for film-gourmets. 




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