Light House Studio buys Vinegar Hill Theatre

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Vinegar Hill could not compete against the corporate muscle of the Regal Cinemas movie theater chain in a closed market.
File photo Vinegar Hill could not compete against the corporate muscle of the Regal Cinemas movie theater chain in a closed market. File photo

Charlottesville’s iconic independent movie theater, Vinegar Hill, which has been shuttered for two years, has been sold to Light House Studio, a nonprofit that encourages young filmmakers, for $850,000.

Light House initially was interested in the space as a rental. “Back in November, we realized in sort of an aha moment that we could put everything under one roof,” said executive director Deanna Gould.

The studio raised $1 million in eight weeks, and is still fundraising for money to renovate the space. The theater will remain, said Gould, and summer camp kicks off June 8 in the former restaurant portion of the building.

“The theater is loved by so many,” said Gould. “No one wanted to see it torn down. People are happy the theater will retain its film legacy.”

And Gould thinks having young filmmakers in the building is a good thing. “I think it will add a lot of life to the theater,” she said.