The Bijou’s new home is at 304. E. Broad St., second from the corner in this photo by Scott Elmquist of Style Weekly. The building's ground floor renovation will soon be completed.
Good news: After having staged seven pop-up events and having conducted a membership drive that achieved it goal, the Bijou Film Center has parlayed its string of successes and good luck into a lease for the ground floor of 304 E. Broad St. From here on the Bijou concept will no longer be a drawing on a napkin with no place to call home.
While it will start out with a temporary screen and folding chairs, in the fall we hope to install some of those seats that were donated to us by the owner of the building that once housed the Westhampton Theatre. Since cinema pioneer Jake Wells' original Bijou opened in 1899, just five blocks to the east, the folks working to build The Bijou are delighted to have this opportunity to bring movies back to Broad Street.
As soon as it's feasible The Bijou will begin showing films on a regular basis. Although 304 E. Broad St. may not be where the Bijou Film Center concept will be fully realized, this starter-home seems like the perfect spot in which to incubate our plan to become the hub of all things film in Richmond. More information will be posted soon.
Breaking news! Screen and seats from The Westhampton going to The Bijou.
The ownership of the building that housed the Westhampton Theatre (1938-2016) has decided – make that generously decided! – to donate the 279 seats and screen from Theatre 2 (the upstairs auditorium) to the Bijou Film Center. Needless to say, it came as great news to us when a spokesman for Westhampton LLC, confirmed the other night that it is willing to help us out in this way.
Soon we'll need to put together a small crew of volunteer workers to help remove and store this equipment. Stay tuned …
You can join more than 400 others who became members during our Leap of Faith Campaign.
By becoming a member with of the Bijou Film Center with a $50 contribution, you are helping us build a 100-seat independent art house cinema, café and nonprofit film center that will serve as a community hub for information on film exhibition, production and preservation. With help from friends like you, we will bring the best new and classic art house films to Richmond that otherwise would not be shown locally, filling a gap in the Richmond film scene.
Thanks to you, we are finalizing plans to launch our next phase — a folding-chair, pop-up style Bijou in the downtown arts and cultural district. During the next year to 18 months we will continue to build our membership base, bring new films to Richmond, finalize architectural plans and raise the “big money” necessary to build out the permanent little cinema, café and film center of our dreams.
Rea and Parrish envision a roughly 100-seat theater with a cafe … "What we think is we have a niche where we can pick good films that mostly get ignored by the major chains,” Rea says.
A little bit of the Westhampton also will live on in the new venue. The Cametas family has donated 279 of the theater’s seats and its smaller screen to the Bijou.
Styleweekly.com - Read more
Two local film veterans want to open a new community art theater and film education center that embraces the wider world of cinema, showing films that aren’t coming to Richmond as well as small-gauge home movies. Yes, they want your old Super 8 films.
“I think we can find a niche having a place that promotes alternatives to the Hollywood-centric model. We want to champion good films.”
Styleweekly.com - Read more
“Little cinema” was an idea that formed in the 1920s, when aficionados of small theaters and shorter movies continued supporting storefronts that projected films on a blank white wall. Fascinated by the concept of “little cinema,” Parrish and Rea researched the steps necessary to bring the idea to life in Richmond. After several conversations, the dream continued to grow. Now, they are knee-deep in building a community hub based around film.
RichmondMagazine.com - Read more
"Turns out we are the movie town some of us thought we were."- Karen Newton, icouldgoonandon.blogspot.com
"Whatever happens, we agree with Parrish that, in the best sense, a local-run repertory art cinema inspires all artists to do what they do – and as such, should be a part of any thriving art scene."- Chirs Bopst, StyleWeekly.com
"Suddenly, a grand idea had formed: the Bijou Film Center. As it’s envisioned, the Bijou, which stands for “little jewel,” will eventually include a theater, a café and a business for preserving and re-producing old films."- Stephanie Manley, RichmondMagazine.com
"The two want Bijou to become a hub for everything to do with film, and to bring this small film theater back to the way that movie theatres were at the turn of the 20th century in Richmond, before Hollywood took over."- Sky Anderson, RVAMag.com