What does Movie Night mean to you? Is it “Netflix and chill”? Sleeping through the latest Disney offering? Over-spending at a mainstream cinema?
For Akhil Nana from Egrek Cinema, movie night is about more than watching a film. It’s about spending time in an intimate, comfortable environment where you’re enthralled by the atmosphere just as much as you are by the blockbuster.
At The Small Business Showcase, we’re all about uncovering the hidden stars of local small businesses. So, grab your popcorn and slushie (or pizza and wine), because the main feature is about to start…
Screw corporate. I want blockbuster!
Akhil’s story began when he was living abroad and working in a ‘normal’ job. One day, as he walked down a street in Europe, he came across a movie poster and decided to check it out. Til that point, he’d mostly chosen mainstream cinemas. But this independent cinema changed his life.
“I was surprised and excited by the style of the place and the enthusiasm of the staff. After the film, the experience was all I could think about. I wanted more of that feeling.”Akhil Nana
In January 2017, after returning to South Africa, Akhil began working on his idea of an independent cinema. His vision was to create “A Beautiful Cinema Experience”, so he compiled a business plan, did some networking, and studied the ins and outs.
He officially opened Egrek Cinema in Parkhurst (Johannesburg) with a viewing of Destroyer in April 2019. And true to the film title and Akhil’s vision, the experience joyfully destroyed peoples’ preconception of cinema.
Unlike many other businesses, Akhil couldn’t give a popping kernel about mainstream competition. In fact, he feels in hindsight that doing too much competitor research would’ve discouraged him. Instead, he focuses on developing his vision according to his customers’ wants and likes.
Pizza and wine make the cinema shine
We’re all familiar with the awkward cinema walk. You know, when the movie has ended and everyone exits the darkened space, their eyes still adjusting to the light. They sort of blunder their way out; an anticlimactic end to an evening.
But Akhil believes that a trip to the cinema should be about more than overpriced snack combos and impersonal movie watching. Egrek Cinema is designed to give visitors an exceptional experience – quite a while before the movie starts and for a chunk of time afterwards.
Akhil manages to shift the narrative of cinema to one where the movie is not the centre of the outing but a part of a much bigger escapade. Snacks, chow, social surroundings, alcoholic beverages, slushies, personalised movie experiences, and post-movie laughter… That’s what Egrek Cinema is all about.
Forget about dinner and a movie. What about dinner with a movie?
And just when you think the story is over and the credits are about to roll, there’smore… You can hire the cinema for events! Imagine a fully-kitted-out, servicedcinema for a private birthday party, movie premiere, live sports screening, live comedy show, team building event, or wedding proposal.
“What makes us unique is that we focus equally on customer service, movie quality, and an intimate cinema atmosphere.”Akhil Nana
Everything you haven’t experienced in cinema
Akhil Nana did everything by the book. He went to school, got good grades, went to university, and got a good job. But his passion for a beautiful cinema experience led him to do everything by the screen instead.
His story proves that if you’re stuck in a job you hate and inspiration happens to strike you dead in the face at an unexpected moment, go with it.
Visit www.egrek.co.za and book a screening. It’s a cine-mazing experience!
PS. Know someone looking for a venue? Want to encourage a hermit friend to get out of the house? Excited about Akhil’s cinema? Share your love of good cinema and share this article with your peeps!