BMFI partners with Cabrini

By Nick Pitts
November 15, 2007

Megan Pellegrino

It is a step back in time as soon as you walk underneath the glowing marquee through the arcade and into the theater.

The Bryn Mawr Film Institute was officially welcomed as a partner to Cabrini College on Thursday, Nov 8. The college is one of the institute’s first colleges welcome as formal community partners.

“Aside from Bryn Mawr College, which aided in the founding of BMFI, Cabrini is now the first institution of higher education to establish a community partnership with BMFI; we’ve done something here that Villanova, Haverford, and others have not,” Dr. Paul Wright, BMFI Liaison for the college, said.

The BMFI, located on Lancaster Avenue in Bryn Mawr, is a non-profit community theater dedicated to not only the study of film but to those who just enjoy a night out at the movies. The partnership was actually ensured this past spring, but professors and faculty members of Cabrini gathered for the first time at the facility to take advantage of its offerings.

Once known as the Seville Theater, constructed in 1926, the BMFI is still a gem on the main line of Bryn Mawr. The institute was recently refurbished and registered as a protected historic site. In addition to its two theaters, each reaching up to a 300 person capacity, they now boast a community room on the second floor. The room features a projection screen fit for movie viewing as well as room for nearly 50 people.

Along with the partnership come many educational benefits.

“Our faculty can use these spaces for any of these purposes-holding classes, guest lectures, special screenings, or other events,” Dr. Wright said. “If a professor is looking to expose students to a particular film, genre, period of film history, or cultural issue, the students can learn about it from a film scholar in a stimulating cinema environment.”

Dr. Antoinette Iadorola, President of Cabrini College, is very pleased with this recent partnership, seeing many great possibilities for the future.

“I am very excited about the new facility that will be offered to our students and faculty, President Iadorola said. “Three years ago this was all just a dream. Dr. Wright really made this a reality and hopefully this will have a great impact on media studies at Cabrini.”

BMFI Director of Education Dr. Andrew J. Douglas is also very excited about the affiliation.

“For a school exploring media, we can offer access to many aspects of film,” Dr. Douglas said. Not many other schools are willing to participate in such a partnership.”

Outside of academics, the partnership ensures many new opportunities for students here on campus as well.

“Cabrini students can become members of BMFI at a reduced rate of $15 per year; this includes free passes to special previews, as well as the best ticket rate for any other screening ($4.50),” Dr. Paul Wright said.

Nikki Sabella, a Cabrini College Alumni 2007, Engish and communication major, encourages students to attend the film institute as much as possible.

“The study of film is something that should be explored further in the communication department and this is a great opportunity for students to do so,” Sabella said.

Dr. Wright has already incorporated two BMFI screenings into his spring courses.

“I’m hoping other professors and, importantly, students will come up with fresh ideas for how to take advantage of the partnership,” Dr. Wright said.

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Nick Pitts

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