History of Kino Usmev goes way back to 1922, when it first opened as „Kino Central“ in the very city centre of Košice, second biggest city of then first Czechoslovak Republic. Surviving four different political regimes, one war, one revolution, one fire, three reconstructions and change of name to „Kino Usmev“ (Cinema Smile), it sadly closed down in 2012. Lack of funding, effective management and opening of two multiplex cinemas in shopping malls seemed to be a definitive end of art house cinema culture in Košice.
Bunch of „Cinephiles“ (later forming ngo Cinefil), however, decided that there is a gap and need for a proper cinema in the city and started to talk to municipality about long term rent of Kino Usmev. This was at a time when they were kicked out from two different venues where they were screening films regularly few times a week. Abandoned Kino Usmev in the city centre was starting to break apart and this was not indifferent not only to Cinefil, but also people of Košice that stood behind them.
After long years of negotiations, Cinefil finally got to an agreement with the city of Košice and got Kino Usmev for rent for 15 years with the project of building „Centre for Audiovisual Culture“, first of its kind in Slovakia. Kino Usmev re-opened on 9 June 2016 and since then there are every day screenings, popular bar, alternative underground space for other cultural program, concerts, debates, parties, and they even managed to open a second screen in June 2019. Kino Usmev is the last remaining original cinema in the city centre of Košice and dynamic cultural hub for local and international artists and audience.
Find out more about Kino Usmev Ambassador here: