At the corner of St. John Avenue and Askew, Yosmel Serrano is working to create a space for Latin films in Historic Northeast.
The theater, La Selva de los Relojes, “Jungle of Clocks” in English, will show Latin films with English subtitles.
A blue awning with the words “Cine Latino,” (Latin Theater) is above the front door. In the windows are two posters featuring the theater’s current showings: Reina de los Jueves (Queen of Thursdays) and Severo Secreto (Severe Secret).
The first floor of the building has been renovated to fit office space and a 30-seat theater.
Inside, “La persistencia de la memoria,” (The Persistence of Memory), a 1931 painting by artist Salvador Dali, hangs on the wall. A replica “melting clock” spills over the edge of a nearby table.
Originally from Cuba, Serrano moved to Miami, earned a degree in film production technology, and spent the next seven years working in various film-related fields, including at the MDC’s Tower Theater Miami.
Moving to Kansas City in 2017, he said he was not able to find a theater that showed primarily Spanish films, so he decided to change that.
He chose the Northeast area because of the large Latin population.
Since November of 2018, he has been working inside the space on St. John to clean it up and install video equipment, a large screen, and seating.
The theater’s name comes from a poem by Frederico Garcia Lorca of the same name, said Serrano.
“I want to bring in cultures from any time, like getting into a jungle of clocks,” he said.
His goal, he said, is to create a space not just for entertainment, but for learning.
He is focused on showing Latin documentaries that will allow the Latino community to become more firm in their cultural roots and open up experiences for non-Latino residents to learn more about the culture.
“I want to provide a space and opportunity for people who have an interest in Latin culture and also for people who don’t have any knowledge of it, but want to learn more. For the Latin community, I want them to be proud of their culture,” Serrano said.
He also works alongside filmmakers to help them with their own film projects and offer them a space to show their completed work.
Currently, he is working on the theater as a project, but if the need for expansion is on the horizon, Serrano said he is not opposed to it.
“It would be good to have enough customers to have the necessity to find a bigger space, but I am not doing this for money. I am just doing this as a project,” he said. “I believe that if you aren’t doing something good, you are doing something wrong.”
The theater sits just a few doors down from the old St. John Theatre.
The theater is currently showing two films on weekends only. Tickets can be purchased online at www.selvadelosrelojes.com. Tickets are $8 for general admission and $6 for students with a valid student I.D. Complimentary popcorn is also served with each ticket.