Three super comfortable and popular movie theater in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, is now for sale!
Yes, I’m looking for a new owner for this fun and profitable (and run by volunteers) enterprise in Southeast Asia.
It was in April 2011 when I took over the movie theater “The Flicks” from the New Zealand couple Martin and Janet. It was a funny place, with a movie room with a large screen and there was a big bucket of ice from which you could fish an ice cold beer can. But when Martin got a serious job at an embassy, their funky movie theater became too much of a requirement and they could no longer enjoy it much as before.
I took over The Flicks from them and began major renovations. The movie theater was restored to 32 seats with cushions (!) and rattan benches, plus a serious lobby with a long bar and cozy red sofas.
And air conditioning everywhere! And Coca Cola brought a huge refrigerator for free. Kingdom Beer delivered the beer and planted a light box on the street side. And that bright white illuminated balcony was enlarged with a terrace and with darker colors and plenty of bamboo too make it cozier. Roll out the red carpet over the entire property and it was ready for the general public.
Add with a website, a Facebook page and with all the renovation done, it became really busy. I ran the bar with a Cambodian or a volunteer, sold tickets and made popcorn, every single day. Visitors were not only coming for one movie, but sometimes for the whole day (with the cover charge only $ 3.50 per day, that’s is not a bad choice of course), and they also ordered more drinks and ordered food from the local delivery partners.
Sometimes there were thirty people coming out from the movie room after a session, only to be confronted with the next thirty people who had come for the next movie. I regularly heard people say, “Since when does everybody know The Flicks?!”
This was perfect for my own Phnom Penh International Film Festival (PPIFF), a grand 10-day event where filmmakers from all over the world submit their festival films to.
The apartment below The Flicks – I have recently renovated with a brand new modern kitchen – has, next to three bedrooms (for volunteers) and a shared bathroom, also a small suite for management. Currently, the entire property is also a refuge for the five cats that I started to take care for…
Thanks to volunteers who apply in large numbers through www.workaway.info to help for at least three weeks with running the movie theater in Cambodia, I don’t have to be behind the bar for the ticket sales and popcorn production and I have made myself responsible for their training (through a convenient handbook), stocks, the movie selection and programming and marketing for it all.
And suddenly I had time again for a social life in the evenings. I became more sportive and enjoy cooking and eating more, with great friends.
The new owner will get this all with all the technical facilities, the volunteer program and I throw in the PPIFF! The work may take anybody no more than 10 hours a week and then you run three movie theaters in Phnom Penh, while maintaining you own social life in the evenings. In Phnom Penh, Cambodia!
After five years, it’s time for some fresh blood for The Flicks and for me it’s time for me to take a new step in a different direction. I am looking at other options in the region, but don’t worry: I’ll stay in Asia.
So, fine dreamer, wanna buy some movie houses?