Ragtag Cinema is a non-profit independent movie theater located in Columbia, Missouri. The theater was founded by Paul Sturtz and David Wilson in May 2000. The theater strives to champion film and other media arts to stimulate and encourage the culture of the community. It does so by spotlighting film as an art form, promoting media literacy, education and new ideas as well as supporting local artists.
The interior of the theater has art hung on the walls which is changed periodically. Instead of traditional theater seating, the first location housed couches and chairs used to accompany 75 guests for its one screen. Recently, a new location was opened. Uprise Bakery takes the place of traditional snack bar, with dinner and dessert available, as well as a full bar.
The Ragtag Film Society was formed in January 1998 whose purpose was to present a series of films which were not prominent in consumer culture. Richard King (of The Blue Note), Janet Marsh and Sally Beattie (9th St. Video) and Sam Black provided the necessary aid to make it initially possible. The organization began with no experience in the film business and little technical knowledge but received sufficient community support to continue the film series for more than a few weeks.
After a showing of Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window, at the Missouri Theater, the Ragtag was able to acquire a 35mm projector. After being approached by Tim Spence, Holly Roberson, and Ron Rottinghaus, they agreed to move the operation into a space that they would build. In the Oddfellows building on Tenth Street in May 2000, a café/movie theater/film scene clubhouse called The Ragtag Cinemacafé was created. The first screening, in May 2000 was a popular movie about Missouri, Waiting for Guffman.
The theater has recently moved to a new 10,000 foot location on Hitt Street. The redesign of the building was done by local architect Brian Pape and provides more theater capacity and more efficient use of space for the combined enterprises. One theater room is completely new with 130 seats, while the other is more reminiscent of the theater at the old location with 75 seats composed of couches and older chairs. Finished construction in the Spring of '08, the building now houses Uprise Bakery and full bar, Ragtag Cinema, and 9th Street Video on Hitt in one location. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Ragtag Cinema produces a monthly calendar which consists of an average of 12 events/movies per month. The cinema strives to bring a mix of films that reflect its audience's diversity. The cinema reads reviews, opinions and the choices of our brethren at the country's microcinemas, film societies, and other theaters to decide on which films to select for a certain month.