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The Strand Theater, a noted landmark on the historic Marietta Square in Cobb County, got its start as a major motion picture house in 1935. The Strand provided movie entertainment to thousands of people of all ages until it closed its doors as a movie house in 1976. 

 1935: Manning Winks Theater Company officially announced the opening of their new Art deco movie theater after seven months of construction. Embracing such modern technologies as heating and air conditioning, acoustical sound system, seating for 1000 and a fireproof projection room, The Strand was the most modern theater outside of Atlanta and cost $150,000

 The Strand opened it's doors on September 24th at 2:00. All of Marietta attended the premiere of Top Hat, starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

 1936: A slogan contest was announced in June and the winner would receive free tickets. The winning slogan "The House of Smart Attractions" was selected, but the contest winner was anonymous.

 1947: Television and drive-in theaters were quickly gaining popularity and Manning-Winks sold the Strand to the Martin Theater Chain. The Martin Theater Chain owned and operated the Strand until the late 1950s, when Georgia Theater, Inc. bought them out.

 1964: The Strand underwent a complete renovation.

 1976: Herbert Goldstein bougth the property and between that time and 1982 the building housed a number of different ventures.

 2002: The theater was vacated and a "FOR RENT" sign was displayed in the box office window as the building deteriorated. Community leaders explored the possibility of restoring the Strand and shortly thereafter, the Friends of the Strand" was formed.

 2003 - 2009: a $5,000,000 renovation project was completed.

 2009: Official Grand Opening of the Earl Smith Strand Theatre

2018: In recognition of the long-time efforts and influence of Earl Smith’s wife, Rachel, on the continued success of the theater, the name of the theater was officially changed to the “Earl and Rachel Smith Strand Theater”.

In recent years, The Strand Theater and the surrounding Marietta Square area have since been the setting for scenes in numerous major television and motion picture projects.


In in the fall of 2014, Dr Richard Tavernaro, President of Long Shot Productions, met with Andy Gaines (now General Manager of the Strand Theater) to discuss the creation of an International Film Festival to be held in the Strand Theater annually. The purpose of the festival was to allow independent filmmakers from around the world to showcase their work and to introduce the residents of Marietta and the surrounding area to films the might not ordinarily see. The festival would screen Feature Length Films, Short Films and Documentaries from around the world.

The following Fall, the First Annual Marietta International Film Festival opened as a one-day festival, screening 22 films from across the United States as well as films from Canada, Syria, Australia and Columbia.

In 2016, the festival entered a partnership with the international filmmaking competition Film Racing, adding the top 15 finalist films from Film Racing to the festival’s lineup and doubling the length of the festival to two days. That year, the festival screened 54 Domestic Films and 17 International International Films,

In 2017, the Festival began hosting monthly Indie Film Nights at the Strand, providing an avenue for local filmmakers to screen their films on the big screen - for many of them, the only time that might happen.

In the first four years, the festival screened a total of 187 Films from across the United States and 26 other countries around the world (Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Columbia, Egypt, England, Germany, Greece, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Kurdistan, Nepal, Russia, Serbia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Syria, Turkey and Uruguay),

2018 saw our first film by an A-List Hollywood actor, when Shia Lebeouf submitted and screened his short film #takemeanywhere.

In 2019, the festival again grew and rebranded after being approached by the Cobb County Commissions and Cobb Travel & Tourism to rebrand and rename the festival the COBB INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL.. The Festival was renamed and increased to four days, to allow more films plus the addition of Workshops and Panels for festival attendees. This expansion also saw an increase in the number of submissions and level of submissions, with many films from Emmy-Award winning filmmakers, starring multiple Emmy-Award winning actors plus a documentary film that had already won an Emmy Award before being submitted to the festival.

The Earl and Rachel Smith Strand Theatre

117 North Park Square

Marietta, Georgia 30060

 Mailing Address:

PO Box 4186

Marietta, Georgia 30061