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Nearly three years after its abrupt closure, the doors of Copia will open once again, albeit briefly, as a venue for the upcoming Napa Valley Film Festival.

Organizers first floated the idea of using Copia’s 280-seat theater back in March, but the deal was finalized only recently.

“We’re very excited,” Brenda Lhormer of the Napa Valley Film Festival said. As an official welcome center for the four-day event, “Copia will be ground zero for the film festival,” she said. 

Lhormer said she and partner Marc Lhormer were in talks with the owner of the former Copia property, ACA Financial Guaranty Corporation, for several months about using the Copia theater.

Beginning Wednesday, Nov. 9, the First Street building will reopen as a welcome center for patrons to pick up program guides, tickets and other film festival information. 

Screenings will be hosted at the theater starting Nov. 10. In addition, the walkway to the front doors at Copia will be covered and used as a wine pavilion during the festival. 

Lhormer said another benefit to using Copia is that it’s adjacent to the Oxbow Public Market, where other film festival events will be hosted. 

“We will have a lot of activity right in that area,” she said. 

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ACA is letting the film festival use the property free of charge, she said. “They are very generous. It really is a win-win for everybody.”

Property managers will ready the inside of the main building for the temporary reopening, including turning on lights and adjusting heating and cooling settings, Lhormer said. The festival will only occupy the lobby, entrance way and theater. The rest of the facility will be roped off to restrict access, she said. 

Lhormer has been inside Copia recently. “It’s like walking into a time warp. It’s very neat and clean,” she said. 

Copia closed for good in November 2008 and subsequently filed for bankruptcy. In October 2009, the First Street property was offered for sale. A buyer has not been publicly identified. 

A spokesperson for ACA would not comment for this story. 

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