Alamo V

Passion Project

Tim League - Alamo Drafthouse

When Tim League started what is now arguably the nation’s most revered cinema franchise, he wasn’t having fun. “I took a job at Shell Oil as a mechanical engineer and soon realized I had made a mistake.” League started the long commute of finding something to do that he loved. Fortunately, his daily walk to work took him passed an abandoned theater. One day, "for lease" appeared on the theater's marquee above the entrance.

“I was 24 years old and was burdened with a heady mix of arrogance and ignorance. So within a week, I put a fairly naive business plan together and plowed ahead and signed that lease.” League was off and running—sort of. While Tim and his now wife Karrie worked tirelessly to recruit eyes for art house movies, sometimes they’d wish for a break. “We lived behind the screen, and I can say that was at times a rather depressing existence. Sometimes we’d wish no one would come instead of the usual four or five people so we could get out for a couple hours.”

Tim and Karrie shuttered the Bakersfield theater after two years, but the experience paved the way for what is now Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Austin. After what could be best described as a lean start, the Austin market responded to Alamo and the rest is history. Today, Alamo Drafthouse has 35 locations nationally. And while the Alamo community has grown, Tim and Karrie’s more immediate base is the reason they love what they do. “In the early days, Karrie and I set out to be a community theater and a resource for the neighborhood. We still try to live that in our core values to this day,” says League.

“We love Austin and can't imagine living anywhere else.” The Leagues live in a historic pocket of West Campus, just 15 minutes from four Alamo locations. They love the walkability and the locality. As for the Leagues’ favorite places in their neck of the woods, they offer high praise for Aster's Ethiopian. The food is wonderful, and the family that owns and operates it are very kind. We literally have been there over 250 times for dinner. Without a doubt, we are their most regular customers.”

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