A Home Away from Home at The Jailhouse

Bay Kelley, left, and Jeff Bennet run the Opelika Auburn Film Arts Collective.




Downtown Opelika is known for having restaurants full of great food and quality bars for adults to enjoy. While many Opelika residents already have their pick of the best eatery, there is one bar unlike any other.

After walking between the bustling pinball machines and neon LED lights of Rock ‘N Roll Pinball, The Jailhouse stands in all her glory. Brick walls are lined with tie-dyed tapestries and neon posters. An ’80s playlist flows through the speakers.

The Jailhouse is the homeplace of the Opelika Auburn Film Arts Collective (OAFAC), an organization run by Jeff Bennet and Bay Kelley. The two “partners in crime” have created a new space for music and movie lovers to enjoy.

“He’s the movie guy; I’m the art guy,” Kelley said.

One of the main goals Bennet and Kelley have for OAFAC is to continue in growth by providing more spaces for both Opelika and Auburn residents to enjoy different movies and music. The welcoming atmosphere adds to the inclusivity that Bennet and Kelley have worked to accomplish with OAFAC.

“The idea is to kind of create a space, a community space where people are excited about cinema and art,” Bennet said.

Bennet and Kelley have been working with The Jailhouse for about a year and a half, and already the two have achieved more than they expected. Bennet and Kelley said they hope to reach more people and add to the already booming culture in Opelika and Auburn.

“We just continue to sort of generate interest and get everybody working together, and everybody’s interested in sort of coalescing these different communities,” Kelley said. “If we can get everybody working together, then this project is self-sustaining.”

On Wednesday nights, OAFAC holds movie screenings at The Jailhouse that range from cult classics to lesser-known films.

“In one way, we’re kind of reliving our young adulthood and bring that to people,” Bennet said.

By giving a space for different subcultures to emerge, Bennet and Kelley have created a new experience for people to discover movies, music and art that is not as well-known.

Along with the movie screenings, OAFAC also has an event called “Silent Film Mixtape.” This event involves local artists who will choose a silent film, as well as a soundtrack, to be made as the score for the silent film. Once the artists are finished, OAFAC hosts a screening to showcase the artists’ works.

For Valentine’s Day, OAFAC will be hosting a poetry reading for locals to share their favorite love poems or their own written piece.

To learn more, visit the OAFAC Facebook page for upcoming events and movie screenings.


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