Bryn Mawr Film Institute – History
The Bryn Mawr Film Institute is another fantastic example of a community determined to keep it’s historic cinema alive. Their sponsored National Theater Survey is an eye opener for those who doubt the significant economical benefits of local Art House Cinema and civic performance spaces.
A call to rescue the historic Seville Theater, a center of Bryn Mawr community life since 1926, inspired the creation of the innovative film exhibition and education center, Bryn Mawr Film Institute.
That call, sounded in 2002 by Juliet J. Goodfriend (shortly to become BMFI’s founding president and executive director), was answered by a group of like-minded civic and academic leaders equally alarmed at the prospective conversion of the derelict—but beloved—theater to a health club franchise.
After seemingly endless zoning hearing board meetings and fundraising events, the newly incorporated nonprofit, 501(c)(3), Bryn Mawr Film Institute purchased the building in December 2004 and began a decade-long restoration, renovation, and expansion project. With great community support, the theater complex today boasts four state-of-the-art theaters, classrooms, community gathering space, a café, and a listing on the National Register of Historic Places.