Great Downtown Cinema: The Sunday Night Movie Series Begins in the Newly Renovated Nevada Theater

The Onyx Theater launches a new collaboration with the Nevada Theater. Starting June 26, the Onyx Downtown at the Nevada Theater will screen movies Sunday nights at 7 p.m. The Nevada City Film Festival will also occasionally host films and events on Sunday nights and will use the Nevada Theater during its regular film. party in August.

Left to right, Jenni Bond, Jesse Locks and Celine Negrete sit in the newly renovated Nevada Theater.
Photo: Elias Funez

For anyone who hasn’t been to the Nevada Theater in the past few years, they’re in for a delightful surprise – the ceiling and walls are painted with exquisite murals by local artists Sarah Coleman, Miles Toland and Brianna French. All three artists received the Dr. Leland and Sally Lewis Award for Visual Arts from the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce. A new Dolby 7.1 surround sound system and a DCI compatible digital projector complete this superb renovation.

It’s not the theater you know and love, but something much more with art, sound and screen technology to elevate the whole experience. Technical engineering from expert theater designer Jerry Harrah guided the sound and projection upgrade. Harrah’s designed hundreds of theaters over his 50-year career. Movie buffs can expect an eclectic mix of films in a comfortable and greatly upgraded movie theater each Sunday.

The Onyx Downtown banner at the Nevada Theater is placed in front of the historic Nevada City Theater when Onyx Theater films are shown.
Photo: Elias Funez

The Onyx Downtown envisions a combination of independent, arthouse and mainstream films, but most importantly, sees an incredible venue to offer a wide variety of offerings, which are not restricted by age, allowing more types of films and a much wider audience.

Nevada City Film Festival founder and Onyx Theater owner Jeff Clark sees it as the next step in sharing his love of filmmaking. “Movies can change who you are and how you see the world. The size and scope of the Nevada Theater gives us a rare and wonderful home to make Nevada City a true cinematic destination – not just for showing movies, but for supporting festivals and filmmakers The Onyx and NCFF will use the new equipment in space, and both will bring great programming, but they are separate entities (the NCFF is of course a non-profit organization). Sunday nights will be films presented by the Onyx Downtown series, and in 2023 the NCFF will bring programming to the Nevada Theater. We will create programs that connect films and filmmakers, expanding the way people think about films and, hopefully inspiring others. Isn’t it wonderful to be able to experience Nevada City and see some great cinema?”

With the Onyx Downtown, community and non-profit collaborations are now possible. The Onyx Downtown will play a role in advocacy and fundraising efforts as well as cinema appreciation. Being downtown and available year-round is sure to keep the Onyx Theater and the Nevada City Film Festival top of mind, adding to the vitality of Nevada City’s great local culture.

The newly renovated Nevada Theater features a new, larger projection screen, as well as a new surround sound system that will benefit the movie-watching experience for Onyx Downtown patrons.
Photo: Elias Funez

“I want to thank Mike Getz and the entire Sierra Cinemas family for starting this cinematic tradition at the Nevada Theater so many decades ago. Mike is a true cinema champion and a huge contributor to our local art scene. We look forward to continuing the Sunday night tradition, with Onyx Downtown offering a wide range of collaborative film and community projects in the heart of historic Nevada,” said Onyx General Manager Celine Negrete during the a recent conversation regarding this new venture.

After several years without really having official locations due to COVID, the Nevada City Film Festival will show previous films, as well as new works. It’s a rare time when a film festival can occupy a beautifully renovated historic theater.

Jane Primrose, president of the Nevada Theater Commission, considers it one of the last key plays in breaking through the hurdles posed by COVID. This wonderful home of the arts will now be an integral part of downtown Nevada City with new audiences every Sunday. “Sunday night movies are an important part of our overall lineup,” notes Primrose. These upgrades will allow the Nevada Theater to continue to function as a vital part of our community for many years to come.

The original Onyx Theater in the Seven Hills district, while still a bit of a hidden gem, continues to set the bar high for cinema seven days a week and now adds a great showcase for movie buffs at heart from downtown Nevada City on Sunday evenings.

Onyx Downtown at the Nevada Theater

The Onyx Downtown at the Nevada Theater screens movies every Sunday night at 7 p.m. The films will be an eclectic mix of films and will also feature selections from the Nevada City Film Festival. Watch for upcoming movie series and special selections. Sign up to receive news and event notifications on

Nevada City Film Festival

Founded in 2001, the Nevada City Film Festival is often referred to as the “Sundance of the Sierra” for its emphasis on fiercely independent filmmaking that showcases innovative, progressive and exciting new voices in filmmaking. In 2020, the Nevada City Film Festival was named by USA Today as the #3 best festivals in the United States.

Jesse Locks, Celine Negrete and Jenni Bond pose with hot dog finger props from the film ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’, which will be one of the upcoming screenings at the Onyx Downtown, which will screen films on Sundays.
Photo: Elias Funez

The Nevada Theater

The Nevada Theater is the oldest continuously operating theater on the West Coast of the United States. Built in 1865, the Nevada Theater was closed during COVID, allowing time for a major mural project, as well as digital projections and surround sound upgrades. These projects were made possible through grants and donations. Many thanks to the community, the Onyx County and Nevada Board of Supervisors.

Pamela Biery is a freelance writer and communications professional. Contact her at [email protected]. Learn more about her work on

The Onyx Downtown at the Nevada Theater is pleased to perform “Everything Everywhere All At Once” at 7 p.m. on Sunday, June 26.
Photo provided

Andrea G. Henderson