Good Film? Ask the Judge: Acme Screening Room

In Lambertville's latest screening room, you can catch a flick and pay a parking ticket all under one roof.

Lambertville’s municipal court (which doubles as a film house).
New Face: Lambertville’s municipal court (which doubles as a film house).
Photo courtesy of acmestyle.com

In the age of multitasking, the Acme Screening Room in Lambertville can teach us a thing or two. An independent movie showroom on the weekends, the former Acme supermarket doubles during the week as a municipal courthouse. Buy a movie ticket, pay a parking ticket, both in one place.

“We joke that the Acme is a little like Clark Kent, ducking into a phone booth to change,” says Sara Scully, Acme’s founder and executive director.

Every Friday, Scully’s staff transforms the space into an intimate 49-seat screening room, moving padded, stackable chairs into place in front of a screen permanently affixed to the wall. Popcorn, candy and drinks are sold at the ticket desk.

Scully, a film producer who grew up in New Hope, Pennsylvania, moved from New York City to Lambertville in 2006. She loved the small-town vibe of Lambertville, but missed the big city’s independent theater scene. To fill the gap, she founded Acme Screening Room in 2008 with just one showing a weekend. Today, Acme has a paid, part-time staff of four, a membership program, a part-time bookkeeper, a graphic designer and a board of directors.

“We are really treasured for showing very independent films that you can’t find elsewhere in the region or on Netflix,” says Scully. Acme has branched out to include companion art shows and Q&A sessions with directors.

About once a month, Acme holds a supper club for 12 to 40 participants, pairing a three-course meal at Lambertville restaurant Anton’s at the Swan with a lively conversation with a filmmaker. Coming February 7: a supper club featuring the indie film Tom in America starring actor Jacques Mitchell.

As for the municipal court, you can drop by during business hours to part with cash for parking blunders. Thankfully, the judge’s name is not in lights.

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