History of Camera Cinemas
After more than 30 years of presenting a wide variety of independent film -- including foreign, underground and re-released classics -- and more recently the latest Hollywood releases, the Camera Cinemas have become an important institution in the local film community. Our theaters have made vital contributions to the cultural life of San Jose, Campbell and Los Gatos, and, most importantly, have become a symbol of the very loyal and committed support of their audiences, people like you.
In fact, the people who started the Cameras are very much like the film buffs who support the Cameras today, except that in the early 1970s there was no place in the South Bay to see quality independent or international film. James Zuur, Jack NyBlom and Dennis Skaggs, aspiring filmmakers and major cinema fans, used to make the long drive to Berkeley several times a week to see movies like Children of Paradise, 400 Blows and Casablanca. Frustrated with this trek, they, along with two other partners, opened the now legendary Camera One Theater on Sept. 6, 1975 at 366 S. First Street in downtown San Jose, featuring a double bill of A Man And A Woman and Chinatown. Camera One closed in May, 2004, and has recently become home for the Anno Domini alternative art gallery.
With the overwhelming success of Camera One, six other theaters soon followed:
Camera 3 Cinema, also in downtown San Jose (opened May 16, 1984; closed July 2004)
Towne 3 Theater, on the Alameda near the Rose Garden (opened May 17, 1990; sold in 2003 to Indian Movie Cinema)
Los Gatos Cinema, in downtown Los Gatos (opened Nov, 1993; moved out Sept. 2012)
Camera 7 Cinema, our state-of-the-art multiplex in Campbell's Pruneyard Shopping Center (opened July 27, 2002)
Camera 12 Cinema, our most ambitious project yet (opened June 6, 2004 in downtown San Jose)
Camera 3 Entertainment, the re-opening of our Camera 3 venue combining innovative specialized cinema, live comedy, a contemporary urban cafe, and an event venue (opened Feb. 8th, 2008 in downtown San Jose)
Camera Cinemas also developed, designed and built the Osio Plaza six plex in downtown Monterey, which they sold to Resort Theaters of America in 1998.
Through all the changes, the Camera Cinemas have continued to thrive, routinely being voted the area's best theaters by readers of San Jose Metro and The Wave, and most recently, being selected Best Movie Theaters in the San Jose Mercury News "Best of Silicon Valley 2007".