Winchester Film Club 3.0

"Bringing Foreign, Indie, Cult, and Classic Films to the Shenandoah Valley Every Week"

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Andy's Vision and The Winchester Film Club: 

The first rule of Film Club is … you must talk about Film Club!

The Winchester Film Club began in January 2008. My wife and I were looking for a way to bring classic, foreign, and independent films to our community. We had some video stores that were struggling and the non-personal Redbox and Netflix opportunity felt stale and robotic. Film Club was started because watching a movie isn't sitting at your computer or phone in a darkened room alone. Watching a movie is an experience - it is a group experience. It is something to share with others. Watching a movie is about talking about it in the halls afterwards or meeting new people who share your film passion. With the growth of technology, I felt like this part of culture was focusing inwards, when they should be growing and developing. In the US alone we lost 10% of our indie theaters in 2012 because of technology upgrades and the push for big movies. This, to me, is like losing a museum. The community would be up in arms if a museum closed because everyone saw the art at home on their computer - why are they not feeling the same with this art medium?

I really wanted to have a strong independent film culture in our community. I grew up in Winchester and have seen several shades of film throughout my life here, and indie films have always been lacking. A place to see a restored classic from the 1940s or the latest Sundance award winner was nowhere to be found. Thankfully, this past year, when Film Club was looking for a location to grow, the Alamo Drafthouse, known for their push toward the avant-garde, came forward and offered this great opportunity - and the rest is - how do you say, history!

Since our move to the Alamo in 2013, we have screened over 50 films, grown our membership from 100+ movie watchers to over-1100 dedicated cinema enthusiasts. We have screened Oscar-winners like The Great Beauty, Her, American Hustle, and Dallas Buyers Club, powerful documentaries like Blackfish, The Act of Killing, and Finding Vivian Maier, challenging classics like Alphaville, City Lights, and Sweet Smell of Success, fantastic foreign films like Borgman, Like Father, Like Son, and Blue is the Warmest Color, and finally advanced screenings like Cheap Thrills, The Signal, and Nebraska.

Film Club continues to grow. Each screening I talk to someone new who did not realize this opportunity existed. What I say to them is that it would never exist without your ticket purchase. There is no membership fee to join Film Club, when you buy a ticket to one of the classic, cult, indie, or foreign films you support the cause, your ticket purchase shows our film distributors that this type of film is wanted in the Shenandoah Valley.

Film Club comes with perks as well, such as advanced screenings and the opportunity to know what is coming to the area before anyone else. PLUS, let’s not forget about Lost Weekend, the chance to see 8-13 movies over a three day period at a great price!
I am proud of our partnership with the Alamo Drafthouse. I am proud that my community has invited such great films into our area.

Andy Gyurisin
Founder, Winchester Film Club

Alamo Drafthouse

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