The love of film drives local venue

By Karli Morello
October 6, 2006

Shane Evans

Classic films, independent films and new releases are only a few choices that movie lovers have when they visit the Bryn Mawr Film Institute. The BMFI is a non-profit community theater located on Lancaster Avenue in Bryn Mawr, Pa. The Institute shows movies, old and new, offers classes about many genres of cinema and has a lot of history.

The BMFI was formed in 2002 by the region’s academic, business and civic leaders according to But, the building itself goes back a lot further than that.

The theater was built in 1926 and was originally known as the “Seville Theater.” The name changed to Bryn Mawr Theater in the ’50s and finally in 2005 the theater needed major renovations but did not have enough funds to cover what needed to be done. At that time, the name was changed to Bryn Mawr Film Institute where classes could be taught which would bring in funds for the needed renovations.

BMFI had fund raisers and began offering classes in film such as The Language of Film, Science Fiction and other genres and Politics in the ’50s and ’60s and how film reflected this. Andrew Douglas is the Education Director at the theater.

Dr. Paul Wright, assistant professor of English, taught a class over the summer at BMFI called “The Asian Masters,” which covered Chinese and Japanese films. Wright said that in class, they would view clips of movies from China and Japan and discuss them in a comfortable setting rather than a classroom lecture.

Obviously, there are many people in the world who enjoy film, some more than others, so BMFI has set up membership plans for individuals and for families. Membership benefits include discounted movie tickets and invitations to private screenings of certain films.

Classes at BMFI go on for a month at a time with four meetings during that month. The fee is $100 per class and is not only limited to members of BMFI, but the general public as well. “Classes are becoming extremely popular especially among the age groups of graduate students and senior-citizens,” Wright said. For more information about classes at BMFI visit

Wright also co-taught a class with his wife, Hailin Zhou, a professor at Villanova University. “Teaching at BMFI is different than teaching in a classroom because it is more discussion rather than lecture,” Wright said.

Wright is working with student activities and is trying to start a film society at Cabrini. The group will plan to screen a number of film clips and full-length features and then discuss and critique them. For more information contact

BMFI shows a large variety of cinema and are always switching up the genres. Upcoming new releases include but are not limited to “Hollywood Land” and “The Illusionist.” “Holiday,” a 1938 classic will also be showing in the upcoming week. BMFI offers midnight movies as well on Friday and Saturday nights. Midnight movies coming this fall are “Being John Malkovich,” “Serenity” and “Animal House.” And who could forget the kids? Every Saturday afternoon, BMFI shows a children’s matinee. This week: “Wallace and Grommit,” according to

Wright is very passionate about film and the theater and said, “[BMFI] is a combination of unique offerings and its educational opportunities are great. It is something students should take advantage of.”

Cabrini Film Sociey’s first screening will be on Sunday Oct. 15 at 8pm in the Widener Lecture Hall. They will be showing the original version (1973) of “The Wicker Man” followed by discussion.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Karli Morello

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Special Project

Title IX Redefined Website

Produced by Cabrini Communication
Class of 2024

Listen Up

Season 2, Episode 3: Celebrating Cabrini and Digging into its Past


Scroll to Top
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap