University Cinema Scala

In 2013 Masaryk University successfully restored Scala as a centre for cinema, culture and education.

From the very beginning, present-day Scala focused primarily on university students. In fact, Masaryk University, along with the Brno University of Technology, originally sought a license to operate the cinema as early as 1922, i.e. even before it was erected. When the cinema subsequently opened in 1929, it was as part of a venue owned by the commercial and industrial workers' cooperative and operated by the Masaryk Endowment Fund for Czech University Students. The fund was headed by MU professors Dobroslav Krejčí of the Faculty of Law and Ladislav Seifert of the Faculty of Science. Masaryk University’s current involvement may thus be seen as the most recent stage of what is nearly a century-long process.

In 1935, the original Bio Dopz was renamed to Scala, only to be renamed to Moskva after WWII, back to Scala in 1968 and once again to Moskva following the rise of the Communist regime. The name Scala was permanently restored only after the Velvet Revolution. The cinema itself also underwent a number of changes, including several large-scale renovations and modifications: its seating capacity was first expanded to over 1,000 in the early 1930s and then lowered again, a wide screen was installed in 1957 and audio equipment capable of Dolby Stereo playback was added in the 1980s. In spite of state-of-the-art equipment and a unique position in the city centre, plummeting demand for the big screen experience and the concurrent rise of multiplex cinemas in the late 1990s finally forced Scala, not unlike most cinemas in Brno, out of business. Scala – operated as a municipal cinema until December 2011 – was one of the last to close.

On 14 October 2013 Masaryk University reopened Scala as a university cinema on the occasion of the launch of the 2013/2014 academic year. The cinema now constitutes a venue for a wide array of university activities ranging from teaching to conferences and seminars to Masaryk University's academic ceremonies. The original educational mission of the cinema building has thus been successfully restored: Scala has once again become a meeting point for students and academics as well as for those living, working, studying in or visiting Brno.

Masaryk University students are actively engaged in developing the programming of the cinema within the Student Cinema project. Regular film screenings are supplemented by scholarly introductions, discussions and similar activities. Associated educational courses are organized by the Faculty of Arts of MU and the MU University of the Third Age. English-speaking viewers will undoubtedly appreciate selected films in English as well as screenings of Czech films with English subtitles.

The cinema is currently operated by Masaryk University in collaboration with Aeropolis, which is in charge of year-round film programming. After a two-year-long hiatus, Scala once again invites its viewers to enjoy art in its many forms!

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