Local theater enhances cinema experience

In Bryn Mawr, tucked between the Starbuck’s and the Ferrari dealership is a small movie theater in the process of some major renovations. However, a nice theater with a new marquee and skylight is not all the Bryn Mawr Film Institute is bringing to the community.

The Bryn Mawr Film Institute, located at 824 West Lancaster Avenue, is seeking to provide an alternative to the typical cinema experience by featuring “the best in independent, experimental, documentary and vintage film to the Main Line,” according to an informational pamphlet.

“We think the Main Line wants an easy-access venue for the best in film,” said Patricia Wesley, the communication and development manager for the film institute. “The cineplex’s will always have the blockbusters.”

Some the Institute’s features that are popular with college students are the midnight movies, which are shown Friday nights at midnight.

For $5, those who attended were treated to such cult classics as The Big Lebowski and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Upcoming midnight movies include Trainspotting this Friday and 12 Monkeys on May 13.

“We try to structure our programming so that we have something of interest for all the different constituencies on the Main Line,” Wesley explained. “Students and young people wanted midnight showings, so we made that a priority.”

The Institute does more than just show movies, however. They also seek to promote film education. One way they will be doing this is by screening some student films from Temple University’s Film School on May 26.

Through courses, discussions and other programs, the Institute will be educating the public.

For example, on May 11 a program will explore the art of movie credits. Of the films whose opening credits will be examined are Vertigo, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Fight Club and the James Bond films.

“We’ll look at how credits set the tone and foreshadow the direction of movies,” Wesley said. “This is a must-see for film and design students.”

Also, on May 18 they will be showing some of the best of the Three Stooges shorts with Jim Pauley, a Three Stooges expert, introducing them, and, on May 21, they will be displaying Three Stooges memorabilia.

A non-profit organization, the Bryn Mawr Film Institute requires the funds from their patronage to keep going and to make the planned renovations.

A person can support the theater not only by attending their movies and programs, but also by becoming a member at one of their many levels of membership.

“The response has been incredible,” Wesley said. “We’ve had 1,000 or more members sign up since we opened in March. People are enthused and full of good ideas for new ways to enjoy film.”

For more information, visit Bryn Mawr Film Institute’s website at www.brynmawrfilm.org.

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