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FilmBar relocates to The Pemberton, but will likely close its downtown Phoenix theater

FilmBar at The Pemberton - handout
Posted at 12:52 PM, Jan 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-28 10:41:40-05

PHOENIX — FilmBar, a small, independent movie theater in downtown Phoenix, is moving locations, but it is not going out of business.

Because of the ongoing pandemic, the movie theater -- known for showing independent and cult films -- opened an outdoor, socially-distant screening area at The Pemberton, a new "community collective" of small businesses and restaurants near Second and Portland streets.

As a result, FilmBar's original location on Second Street, between McKinley and Garfield streets, will likely close in February, owner Kelly Aubrey told ABC15 on Wednesday, citing the "financial strain" of operating the theater out of that building.

However, Aubrey also said in a direct message on Instagram, "if I can find a way to stay, I will."

Aubrey announced the news in an emailed newsletter to his subscribers on Tuesday.

"As for our original location, I'm afraid we're going to lose that. So, if you want to see it one last time before we close it, we're still making it available for affordable rentals through the end of February," he said.

People can rent one of the theater's two rooms -- a max of 10 or 20 people depending on the room -- to host a private screening. Rental cost is $125-$150.

Over at The Pemberton, Aubrey said the outdoor venue can seat 76 people under the current COVID guidelines but will be able to hold up to 150 people once those restrictions are relaxed.

Currently, movie theaters, along with bars and restaurants in Arizona, are limited to 50% capacity.

"It'll be fun because once this project really gets rolling, there will be a bunch of bars and restaurants to choose from to grab something before & after a show. A one-stop shop for your night!," he wrote.

He said Pemberton would show the "lighter" side of FilmBar -- primarily, retro, cult, independent films -- and some of its signature events.

The "artsier side" of FilmBar, he wrote, would take place at the Phoenix Art Museums' outdoor courtyard. He said that would start on Feb. 4 and that details would be released later.

Phoenix Art Museum confirmed it has a "formal partnership" with FilmBar and that details would be released later.

FilmBar has also launched an online streaming service, FilmBar Online, where people can purchase and stream independent films from home.

Some of the other businesses open at The Pemberton are Abnormal Beer Co., Bitch On The Run, a breakfast restaurant, Dinos Napoletana, and Cloth and Flame.

For more information, visit www.thefilmbarphx.com and www.pembertonphx.com.