Kareem Tabsch was expected to be a doctor or lawyer when his Cuban mother and Lebanese father established themselves in Miami in search of the American dream.
But despite his parents’ hopes, he ended up in show business, and he’s achieving a different kind of dream.
You can blame Gloria Swanson’s diva smolder in Sunset Boulevard, or Katharine Hepburn’s unstable Leonor de Aquitania in The Lion in Winter or maybe even point to Neil Simon’s dialogues in The Sunshine Boys. But whatever the reference, Tabsch was sure his life would be better in film than in medicine or law.
His business partner Vivian Marthell, a visual artist who prefers Darren Aronofsky and David Cronenberg films, perfectly complements Tabsch. Together they’ve opened two locations of O Cinema in Wynwood and in Miami Shores.
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Now, Marthell and Tabsch are opening a third location in Miami Beach on the site of the former Byron Carlyle on 71st Street.
“My brother and I still talk using phrases from The Sunshine Boys,” Tabsch said during an interview in the lobby of the new O Cinema Miami Beach.
The Beach theater will open Friday and show the movie Birdman, starring Michael Keaton and directed by Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu.
The first O Cinema was inaugurated with 50 seats in 2011, when Wynwood was in its infancy. In 2012, the second O Cinema opened in Miami Shores, where it shares a space with the Miami Theater Center.
“We want to continue showing films that aren”t shown in other theaters,” said Marthell, giving as an example the 2014 documentary Fed Up.
“Films that elevate the conversation about cinema but also films that affect our day to day lives.”
Marthell recently traveled to the Toronto Film Festival and met with Argentine, Brasilian, Chilean and Mexican film distributors to shop for films.
In December, a showing of Yo soy Cuba (I Am Cuba), a Russian and Cuban collaboration from 1964, is scheduled along with a discussion forum.
It was directed by Mikhail Kalatozov and angered the governments of both countries. Today the film is a cinematographic testament of the Cuba of yesteryear.
O Cinema later will show Twelfth Night and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
If you go
O Cinema Miami Beach is at 800 71st St., Miami Beach. Opening night ceremony starts at 7 p.m. Friday with a screening of ‘Birdman’ and food from Pollo Tropical. $11; $9.50 students and seniors; $7.50 for members.