- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 16, 2002

Georgetown's Cineplex Odeon Foundry has closed abruptly but quietly after nearly 20 years, leaving one of the District's toniest neighborhoods without a movie theater.
Projectionist Nahusenay Gerima will no longer roll film at the Foundry. Mr. Gerima, 37, yesterday seated on a crate outside the Foundry building on Thomas Jefferson Street in Northwest, said the closing of the theater came out of the blue. He said 12 persons were employed by the theater.
"We didn't know. This came as a complete surprise to employees," said Mr. Gerima, who had worked at the movie theater for eight years.
He said people had been coming to the theater for several days, not knowing it had officially closed on Monday.
Some of those eager to see a movie for $3 may have been sent there by Deborah Crawford, the owner of Movie Madness, a movie-poster store up the street, who routinely steered movie buffs to the Foundry.
"People always stop here looking for the theater. [The company] seems to be keeping it quiet. It's the last movie [theater] in Georgetown and it did bring people into Georgetown. It's a little distressing not to have a theater here," Ms. Crawford said.
This isn't the first time Ms. Crawford has suffered the loss of a beloved movie house in Georgetown. Originally, her business was located next to another Georgetown landmark, one that closed in 1997 the Key Theatre.
"This is very unfortunate. A similar thing happened when we were near the Key Theatre [located in the same building]. The closing of the Foundry affects my business, but it also affects Georgetown with the Key, the Biograph and now the Foundry closing. It's so sad that we can't keep a theater," she said.
The Key Theatre on Wisconsin Avenue NW closed in 1997. It was an institution in the District for 24 years, where one could see foreign and independent films. Today, Restoration Hardware sits in its place. The Biograph Theatre, on M Street NW, closed its doors the summer of 1996 after three decades of attention to arthouse-film aficionados. A CVS drugstore has replaced that movie marquee.
Mandy Smith, 35, said she was "sad" to see another "art" theater shut down.
"I love the place," she said.
"Now, there isn't any place to see cool movies. What we are left with are conglomerates who show the Hollywood stuff, not foreign or independent movies."
The Germantown resident said she used to make the "haul" from the outer suburbs because the Foundry showed movies that did not play in the suburbs, played second-runs and didn't charge full prices.
Since the closing of the Biograph and the Key theaters in the past decade, Mrs. Smith said there is little choice left for devoted and "discerning" moviegoers like herself.
"When the Key closed, it was horrible. I loved going to see D.C. Film Fest movies there and at the Foundry. People like me movie snobs are now left with nowhere," she said.

* Donna DeMarco and Jabeen Bhatti contributed to this article.


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