VIRGINIA ARTS EDUCATION CENTER PURCHASES CHARLOTTESVILLE’S VINEGAR HILL THEATRE
Light House Studio Expands Award-Winning Programming for Students
Charlottesville, VA – Wednesday, May 20, 2015 – Light House Studio, an award-winning nonprofit filmmaking center for youth in central Virginia, today announced that it has purchased Vinegar Hill Theatre, a culturally significant theatre in the heart of downtown Charlottesville. For sixteen years, Light House Studio has guided the creation of documentary, dramatic, and animated films and pioneered a mentor-based approach to teaching the art of filmmaking. Light House Studio will continue the legacy of Vinegar Hill Theatre as a venue for creativity and community engagement, while expanding programming for children and teenagers in the art of film production.
Transforming a Cultural Treasure – Vinegar Hill Theatre
Opened in 1976, Vinegar Hill Theatre, on the historic Charlottesville Downtown Mall, was renowned for showing first-run independent films. The theatre was dedicated to bringing documentaries, foreign and classic American films to the community. In 2013, the theatre closed as the film industry changed and competition from newly constructed theatres in Charlottesville grew. When Light House Studio approached Ann Porotti, the owner of Vinegar Hill Theatre, with the idea of transforming the theatre into a film arts center for youth, a new history for the theatre began to take shape. In the past months, foundations and individuals have come together to raise the needed capital and begin a campaign to purchase, renovate and preserve the building for Light House Studio.
Light House Studio
As a nationally recognized film education center, Light House Studio is dedicated to helping students develop their vision, create unique productions and publicly show their work. Since 1999 Light House Studio has brought young people together to learn the art of filmmaking. The organization provides mentored workshops in digital filmmaking, access for youth to production studios, a rich library that includes DVD and literary resources and exhibition opportunities to young people, enabling them to learn, by hand, the pervasive language of motion pictures and sound.
“We believe in the importance of collaboration and community, and the lasting benefits of our professional filmmakers’ mentor-based approach to teaching the art of filmmaking,” noted Deanna Gould, the Executive Director of Light House Studio. “I see proud faces when I look at students viewing their films with family and friends. Our filmmakers learn to express themselves, tell stories, work with others and develop essential cinematography and editing skills. Most importantly, I see our students gain self-respect and leadership skills that help further their education.”
With Light House Studio’s national recognition has come a rapid growth in programming. Following the purchase of the Vinegar Hill Theatre, Light House Studio will expand its studio production space, develop new editing bays and offer a permanent screening theater for the more than 150 films produced each year by its students. This year alone Light House Studio mentors taught 70 workshops engaging more than 900 students from over 50 schools.
About Light House Studio
Light House Studio was founded in 1999 by a group of Charlottesville, VA filmmakers, artists and educators. Since the creation of the first “Video Diary,” Light House Studio has helped youth create thousands of documentaries, dramas and animated films. Student work has been broadcast on PBS, CNN and Public Access Television. Work has been exhibited at The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia and Second Street Gallery, among others. Light House films have been shown in festivals all over the United States. Several Light House Studio students have received national awards for their films, including a Peabody Award, a Gold World Medal at the New York International TV and Film Festival and a Golden Cine Eagle Award. Find out more about supporting Light House Studio’s Vinegar Hill Campaign.