Vinegar Hill Theatre to Close its Doors - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Vinegar Hill Theatre to Close its Doors

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Charlottesville's first independent film theatre is closing its doors in days. The screen goes dark Sunday at Vinegar Hill Theatre. Its owner blames the multi-plex movie behemoths for forcing the 37-year-old theatre out of business.

Adam Greenbaum sees the history of Vinegar Hill Theatre on the screen.

"Slumdog, Black Swan, scores, hundreds of great movies over the last 5 years," said Greenbaum.

Now, the heavyweight multiplexes are forcing the small silver screen to go dark.

"We're just a kind of tiny player in a much larger industry," said Greenbaum.

Greenbaum saved Vinegar Hill from closing in 2008. Now, he says Charlottesville's 37-year-old independent theatre just can't compete - especially since the downtown Regal - just a block away - started showing independent and foreign films.

"We have struggled the last couple months to find our niche. At the moment, it just isn't there," said Greenbaum.

James Ford, manager at Vinegar Hill, grew up watching films flicker across Vinegar Hill's screen.

"It's got a lot of charm and a lot of character. I've gotten to know it and love it over the years," said Ford.

Ford hopes to see familiar faces in the audience for the final shows this weekend.

"There's going to be nothing but chains left after we're done," said Ford.

It's the beast of a changing business.

"The film industry is changing very, very quickly. The experience of film watching has to change as well, too," said Jody Kielbasa, director of the Virginia Film Festival.

The theatre's closure also brings a loss of screen space for the Virginia Film Festival.

"It's part of a history of the fabric of our community here in Charlottesville. I think that's the greatest loss more than anything is losing that history," said Kielbasa.

Greenbaum is optimistic Charlottesville's first independent theater won't be its last.

"I continue to believe that truly independent cinema will always have a place," said Greenbaum.

The final show is Sunday at 9:20 p.m. Vinegar Hill will have a collection of movie memorabilia for sale all weekend. To access the full schedule, click here.


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