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New Movie Theater — With Its Own 'Top Chef' — Opens in Fairfax

Move over multiplex, here comes Angelika Film Center.

The Angelika at Mosaic, a new art house theater that will offer independent, foreign and classic films, opens this weekend in Fairfax at Lee Highway and Gallows Road, 2911 District Ave.  

The upscale setting for the Angelika Film Center and Cafe includes swanky cocktails, craft beer, specialty wines, "global fusion cuisine" by chef Lee Anne Wong of "Top Chef" fame and a twist on the usual concession snacks.

There will be a variety of special programming to enhance their opening weekend, and it will represent what they expect to feature with future film releases going forward.

Fans of films that are less promoted and often more ahead of the artistic curve will find travel time from as far as Ashburn or Manassas, for example, worth their while. The owners of this latest in a recent expansion of theaters, which is modeled after their Soho New York flagship, are planning frequent Q & As with filmmakers and actors featured in their current films.

They are hoping to attract a wider Washington area viewership with these events and special features, and point out accessibility (it's walking distance from the Dunn Loring metro station) makes it convenient to attend their programs from many surrounding neighborhoods.

During a preview this week, Cinema Siren got a chance to check out the new center: The screening rooms are at once modern and comfortable, as well as very soundproof. During the preview, they played music in each theater, which you stopped hearing the moment you stepped out of the theater.

The lounge and concession tempts with unique items like gourmet hot dogs (they were offering kimchi hotdogs to guests at the preview) and popcorns include tandoori, pizza, caramel, and cheddar, among others. There is a great selection of pastries, gourmet coffee, as well as other more substantial menu items, beers from local breweries, wine and even sake.  

To attract and keep their audience, they have weekly specials like Student Tuesdays, where you get free popcorn and $9 movies with a student ID, and for now, they have Baby Boomer Thursdays, where adults over 55 pay $7 and get free popcorn, although it is unclear if that is a special that will continue. Also, every Friday and Saturday night, they'll have Angelika After Hours Retro Series, with cult favorites playing at 11:45 p.m. 

The October after-hours series includes Spaceballs (Oct. 12 and Oct. 13), Labyrinth (Oct. 19 and Oct. 20), and Army of Darkness (Oct. 26 and Oct. 27).  When was the last time you've had a chance to see any of those movies on the big screen?

And of course the most exciting feature of Angelika is the movies themselves.  The Angelika in New York has the distinction of having premiered many independent movies that have gone on to make stars of their directors, or become new classics. At the Angelika at Mosaic, too, they are hoping the fresh new talent and quirky indies they feature will help the filmmakers, their cast, and crew toward becoming the next big thing.

It's nice to see a large movie company promoting and succeeding with smaller artistic films. For those of us who have had scant opportunity for seeing critically acclaimed indies before they shuffle along, Angelika couldn't have come at a better time. We all love knowing city dwellers will have to come in our direction for a change…Yes, Georgetowners, Cinema Siren is talking to you! 

Keep an eye on the Angelika events calendar, as well as the Cinema Siren column, where we'll let you know about particularly exciting programs. You are likely to find something worthy of venturing out to see!

Here is the schedule for Angelika's opening weekend events:

  • Q&A: Saturday, Sept. 22 following 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. show of Hello I Must Be Going (moderated by Professor Richard Brown, a New York University film professor internationally known for his award winning television series Movies 101) 
  • Poster Signing: Sunday, Sept. 23 following the 2 p.m. show of Grand Illusion (an in-house poster signing with acclaimed artist and illustrator Paul Davis, designer of the 75th anniversary poster for Rialto Pictures’ Grand Illusion)
  • Skype Q&A: Sunday, Sept. 23 following the 5:45 p.m. show of Keep the Lights On with writer/director Ira Sachs 
KathyCrest September 22, 2012 at 04:47 PM
Better coverage than the Washington Post (in the Weekend section). Thanks!
Leslie Combemale September 22, 2012 at 08:00 PM
well, that's a bit wrong, but you're welcome. As Cinema Siren, I know how many folks in Northern VA and the Washington area are going to be very excited to have Angelika in their midst!
Elaine Ziman September 24, 2012 at 12:35 AM
Is it a dinner theater or a just a theater with fancier concession options?

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