Bryn Mawr Film Institute
|Location:||822-826 W. Lancaster Ave., Lower Merion Township, Pennsylvania|
|Area:||less than one acre|
|Architect:||Lee, William H.|
|Architectural style:||Beaux Arts|
|Added to NRHP:||December 28, 2005|
Bryn Mawr Film Institute is a non-profit, community-owned movie theater located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, a town on Philadelphia's Main Line. Re-opened in March 2005, with Ben Kingsley present, it currently has over 6,300 supporting members. BMFI shows a wide range of films, including foreign, independent and art house films. Film education is an integral part of the theater's mission; BMFI works with area schools and also offers film studies courses for adults.
History of the Theater
The building began life as the Seville Theater. It was designed by Philadelphia architect William Harold Lee, a designer of over 200 theaters. The Seville was built in 1926, one of six theaters built along the Main Line in the 1920s. Originally a one-screen theater, it was later was split into two during the 1980s.
A three-phased restoration of the theater began soon after the Bryn Mawr Film Institute (which refers to the name of the group founded in 2002 by academic, business and civic leaders from the area) acquired the theater. Phase 1 included refurbishing the lobby, installing new production and sound equipment, modernizing the electrical and heating systems and building a new café. Phase 1 was completed in March 2006 with the installation of the new marquee. Approximately $9 million must be raised to complete the theater's transformation.
The Institute recently finished the restoration of the skylit atrium to its original state, at a cost of $2 million, in March 2009. Other upgrades include classroom space and an elevator. The Institute currently plans to add a third screen, an elevator, and upgrades to the HVAC and other building systems.
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