Magic Lantern Update — Outdoor Summer Film Schedule

Magic Lantern Update — Outdoor Summer Film Schedule

Friends, the temperature is climbing, the buds are bursting, and — pretty soon — it will be time again for outdoor summer movies!  This year we’ll be back at the Taylor Pavilion in Old Town Winchester, the James Charles Vineyard and Clearbrook park with our usual  varied selection of films for those of (practically) all tastes.

Details for the complete summer program follow.  Mark your calendar!  We will of course be sending periodic reminders well before each screening.

Magic Lantern in February: The King

Magic Lantern in February: The King

February’s film at the MSV/Barns will be the new documentary, The King, from one of America’s best directors in this genre, Eugene Jarecki.  As the title suggests,it is a film inspired by Elvis Presley — or more exactly, by Presley’s impact on American society at the time and how his demise may be seen as a metaphor for problems in our country today.  The “vehicle” for this meditation (in two senses of the word), is Presley’s 1963 Rolls Royce: the film takes us in the Rolls on a cross-country trip featuring music, talk and the changing American landscape.  The New York Times summed it up well: “Wildly ambitious, thoroughly entertaining…The King is a lot like its nominal subject, Elvis Presley.”

And, by coincidence, the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema will be offering a one-time screening of The King at 7 p.m., February 28 as part of its Film Club program.  So, for those with busy schedules, you get three bites at this particular apple!

Link to for The King trailer and other information.  Also, details on this and other upcoming films follow below and are posted on  We suggest that you scroll through the list, as the showings are not necessarily in chronological order.

Finally, a second reminder that we’re still encouraging you friends of the MLT to consider making a financial contribution to our efforts to bring varied and stimulating film experiences to the northern Shenandoah Valley.  Just link to for the form which you can submit on-line or print to send by snail mail.  We’ll welcome your support for our continued service to the community, not only by showing interesting cinema, but also through our program of modest grants to local filmmakers — to encourage both independent film-going and independent film-making in our region.

See you at the movies!

2019 is on the Horizon

With the year 2018 coming to a close, we’ve been focused on programing for early 2019!  Briefly, we’ll be showing three excellent, new documentaries at the MSV/Barns, another musical from Hollywood’s Golden Age at Handley Library, and a provocative feature on what-you-eat at the UU Church of the Shenandoah Valley.

As we approach year-end, we’re encouraging you friends of the MLT to consider making a financial contribution to our efforts to bring varied and stimulating film experiences to the northern Shenandoah Valley.  Just link to for the form which you can submit on-line or print to send by snail mail.  We know that you receive many such solicitations at this time of year; please just bear in mind our continued service to the community, not only showing interesting cinema, but also in our stepped-up program of modest grants to local filmmakers to help make the Winchester area a growing center of both independent film-going and film-making in northern Virginia.

Finally, we send our very best wishes for a wonderful holiday season and a fine new year in 2019…see you at the movies!

MLT Sponsorship Opportunity

MLT Sponsorship Opportunity

The MLT has shifted its support model from memberships to a simpler, donation-based system. This gives all our supporters the opportunity to renew their commitments to the MLT at the same time. We think you’ll find it more convenient…and it saves us the labor and mailing expense that comes with a month-to-month membership approach. For more details, please refer to our Message to Members post from earlier this year.

I believe you already understand the benefits that the Magic Lantern Theater has brought to our community over its sixteen years of existence.
Our small group has screened over 300 films, often through multiple showings at different locales, in genres ranging from top indie and foreign language to family-friendly, to outdoor events featuring dramas, comedies and classic films.

  • We’ve shown documentaries dealing with important social and political issues, with post-film discussion of their impact in our own community.
  • We’ve donated a large number of film discs to the Handley Regional Library collection.
  • We’ve supported events such as Alamo Cinema’s “Lost Weekend” film festival and the downtown Skyline Indie Film Fest.
  • And, more recently, we’ve begun a modest grant program to assist local filmmakers and videographers.

To continue these efforts, Magic Lantern depends on continuing financial support from those who value our work. We will of course recognize your tax deductible gift through an appropriate acknowledgement and will list you as an MLT sponsor on our site.

So, do your bit to help keep the Winchester area as one of the best small-town film venues in the country!

A convenient form is available HERE for your donation online.

If you would prefer to donate by mail please make checks payable to Magic Lantern Theater and mail them to:

The Magic Lantern Theater,
P.O. Box 363,
Winchester, VA 22604.

See you at the movies!

Mark Lore

Coordinator, Magic Lantern Theater

MLT announce Grant Program for Regional Filmakers

MLT’s mission is to provide a variety of film experiences to the community of the Winchester area while enhancing the life of the city’s historic downtown. This can mean bringing neighbors together for both indoor and outdoor showings of independent, foreign, documentary and family films; partnering with other local community groups, and, on occasion, supporting regional filmmakers and videographers.

As of September 2017, we are taking steps to give this objective greater substance though introduction of a modest cash grant program which we hope will provide seed money for local, independent film projects that meet our criteria.

We are interested in supporting the full range of activities that will help us fulfill that mission through cash grants. That might include (but is not limited to):

  • Support for the production of local/regionally based independent films by local/regionally based filmmakers;
  • Support for local and regionally based video projects; and
  • Scholarships for film instruction.
  • Eligibility: The project must meet one or more of the following criteria:
  • Be based in Winchester (VA), Frederick and Clarke counties;
  • Have Winchester (VA), Frederick and Clark counties as part of its focus (for example, films about the Shenandoah Valley)

In addition, if the funds go towards a film or video production, the resulting work must be available for screening by MLT on at least one occasion.

Amount of Awards: Cash awards are available for a maximum of $2,000, but the request can be for as little as $100.

Time Period of Award: Not to exceed 18 months.

Deadlines: The Board will review applications on a rolling basis. Please contact MLT for upcoming Board meeting dates.

Method of Application: Complete brief Application Form, available on our web site HERE


Cinema as… A Voyeur’s Guide to the Movies – SU Lifelong Learning Course

One of our leading local cineastes, Chris Zimmerman, is offering a provocative course this fall titled, “Cinema as…A Voyeur’s Guide to the Movies,”  under the auspices of SU’s Center for Lifelong Learning. It consists of five Monday evening sessions from September 25 through October 30 — link to for further information.

Lost Weekend VIII is September 28th – October, 1st, 2017 at Alamo Drafthouse Winchester

It is that time of the year again. The time to huddle around the warmth of the Alamo Drafthouse as we witness the spectacle of all spectacles, the Christmas in August celebration, of the title announcements for our upcoming LOST WEEKEND VIII!

Lost Weekend VIII is September 28th – October, 1st, 2017.

Weekend passes will be $35 and will go on sale at the box office only at 6pm! Online passes will go on sale at 7:30pm! Limited number of passes, ony 170! Announcement will begin at that same time. Our announcement is completely free – and guess what, the movie aftewards will be as well – because we are watching Charlie Chaplin’s THE GREAT DICTATOR! What a night! (will need to still reserve your seat to the film)

Find out more at 

Skyline Indie Film Fest – September 7-10, 2017 in downtown Winchester

Today, Skyline is simply a festival. A great little scrappy indie film festival that focuses on the exhibition and presentation of new, undistributed indie films in an awesome community. And the community is getting funky and the vibe is getting better. Slowly. But surely.  The feel, the look, the appreciation and acceptance of art and performance in all its many forms reminds me of, now famous, awesome cities like Asheville and Wilmington, NC from years ago before they were the cultural destinations they are today. I am excited to live and work in Winchester and to see the young guard ease into positions of authority and become responsible for the positive changes that are sure to continue.

Find out more at

Magic Lantern Supports Local PBS Documentary ‘Saving Place, Saving Grace’

Magic Lantern Supports Local PBS Documentary ‘Saving Place, Saving Grace’

We are very proud to announce that Magic Lantern recently made our first, modest grant of $2,000 to assist production of the forthcoming PBS documentary, Saving Place, Saving Grace, a film being shot here in the northern Valley which tells the story of the sustainability efforts of the Holy Cross Abbey in Clarke County.

“Saving Place, Saving Grace” is the story of a Trappist monastery’s struggle for reformation of their home by embracing an intense sustainability initiative. Witness the monks land stewardship, prayer, and work ethic as the core of the community at Holy Cross Abbey. It’s a race against time to retain their rural home along the iconic Shenandoah River in the shadow of The Blue Ridge Mountains.

Ecology meets theology. Saving Place, Saving Grace portrays an extraordinary place and grace in the spirit of contemplative prayer and lifestyle that is the soul of Cool Spring. And—without the active engagement of the internal and external communities—this 1,200 acre property and community could disappear.

Today, the Cistercian monks’ endeavors and the colorful array of people who support the community’s sustainability should be a shining example for all who share the planet. Their humility and recognition of the divine in nature call for a spiritual awakening that we all should deeply ponder. Ancestral residents and caretakers moved through the area with what we can imagine to be equal appreciation for the fertility and extraordinary landscapes. And the iconic Shenandoah River of the Chesapeake Bay watershed—we must take serious action to eliminate pollution and restore water quality in order to conserve our most valuable natural resource.

The Director and Producer each became acquainted with the monastery and its community over the last 10 years. We have been granted unprecedented access to the unique community and place. The film offers viewers an opportunity to explore and learn about this “sacred ground,” with the invitation to be swept away with the story. We hope a “call to action” will be the answer to its inspiration.

Part of the MLT’s mission has always been to encourage local filmmakers; we hope that this will be but the first of such grants — within our modest capabilities.

Find out more about “Saving Place, Saving Grace” at the Picture Farmer Films website HERE

Two Film Festivals Heading to Winchester

Two Film Festivals Heading to Winchester

Just to prove a point that the film scene in Winchester is thriving, there will be two film festivals running in September, both supported by the MLT.

The Skyline Indie Film Fest runs September 8-10 in downtown Winchester ( ) with a three day program of World Premieres including, ARC, Crass, MÓR, No One Else, The Ego Death, The Sign and UNCLE VASSYA plus U.S. premieres for Abbiamo fatto bene, Globuline’s Game, Paradox, The Witching Hour and To The Stars plus local standout anthology short The Haunt Collection from Mirandum Pictures.

Lost Weekend VI at the Alamo Cinema runs September 22-25 — visit to find out more!

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