The Biggest Little Theater in Wine Country

Community-Based, Mission-Driven

St. Helena's Cameo Cinema is a single-screen movie theater committed to fostering an appreciation for cinema’s cultural heritage and producing exemplary theatrical experiences. The Cameo brings international, independent, and critically acclaimed films to the Napa Valley.  Our mission is to foster a vibrant sense of community through the film-going experience.

Presenting tomorrow’s cinema experience, today

Founded in 1913, St. Helena’s Cameo Cinema is California's oldest continuously operated single-screen movie theater.  Today, this 140 seat movie theater remains an integral part of the Napa Valley experience and lifestyle.  Over the past thirteen years, owner Cathy Buck has infused this classic ‘movie palace’ with Napa Valley’s legendary style and hospitality.  With her pioneering spirit she has brought the theater into the 21st Century, installing the latest innovative cinema technology and crafting a world-class film experience, equal to any great movie house, anywhere in the world.

The Cameo Cinema is the only single-screen Art House Cinema in the United States to boast a state-of-the-art Barco 6k Cinema Laser Projector and Dolby Atmos Surround Sound.

Operating an Art House Cinema in the 21st Century

The exhibition business in the United States is dominated by three major circuits — Regal, AMC and Cinemark — that collectively control 50% of the roughly 41,000 screens in the country. Independent theater owners worldwide are forced to come up with creative ways to stay solvent and have no choice but to out-hustle the ‘big three’ if they want to survive. Yes, there are challenges, but when you love what you do, nothing seems impossible.

Like other independent arts exhibitors, ticket sales are split with distributors. Sometimes they require as much as 63% of your ticket fee go back to the studio.  So you can see why a raise in ticket prices doesn’t really address the shortfall.

Movie theaters rely heavily on concession sales, but they are unpredictable and tied to attendance. The combined revenue from tickets and concessions covers only a small portion of the Theater’s overhead. Special events, film festivals and curated programs can increase our bottom line, but the margins are still razor thin. 

The Cameo Cinema's Partner - The CCF

We are committed to keeping the Cameo affordable for the entire community and like other Art House Cinemas nationwide, we rely on our non-profit  501(c)3 support group, the Cameo Cinema Foundation (CCF) to make the continued operation of the theater possible. 

This is why your donation is so crucial to the theater at this time. 
Explore the many programs your generous donations make possible each year.  EXPLORE >

Creative ways to support the Cameo Cinema

---Enjoy the full ‘big screen’ experience by indulging yourself at the Concession Stand whenever you visit the theater.  
---Donate $2500 or more for a beautiful, hand-engraved STAR on our Galaxy Wall at the theater. 
---Make a donation through our NEW Spare Change program - an awesome way to become a sustainable donor!

Your donation to the CCF matters more than ever! 

A short history of the Cameo Cinema

On May 15, 1913 an overflow crowd jammed the newly opened G&G Theater to watch the first silent movie ever shown in St. Helena,  Selig's " Kings of the Forest" (shot in Griffith Park!).  The G&G boasted "400 seats, 150 opera chairs, a modern stage and two standing sets." 

Our tiny theater quickly became the cultural center of this small agricultural community,  only the local churches hosted more events.  In 1915 it was renamed the Liberty Theatre .  It remained a center for silent films, community events and programs for decades, making the transition to "talkies" and Technicolor appear seamless.

The Liberty changed hands several times after WWII, and its name changed with every sale.  In the 1970s the Money family took possession and began the long overdue renovations and upgrades.  They renamed it The Roxy and continuing their stewardship into the 1980s.  Like many small town movie houses in the age of television, the Liberty struggled to maintain a presence on Main Street.   In 1996 Charlotte Wagner assumed the lease and performed a serious upgrade to the facilities and equipment, renaming the theater, The Cameo Cinema. Cathy Buck assumed the lease in 2008 and a new era for the Cameo Cinema began.