Submitted by ub on Wed, 09/28/2011 - 14:02

LANDMARK The great old movie houses of the past have largely been carved up, torn down, or turned into something completely different. As a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and restoration of one of few surviving – and still operating – single-screen theaters, we work to ensure that the 90-year-old Pelham Picture House will continue to entertain audiences for generations to come. More details

COMMUNITY In a world where you can carry a movie screen in your pocket, the 1921 Picture House preserves the sense of community, wonder, and engagement that has existed since the formation of the first theaters. It is a cultural institution dedicated to the art of film. We believe passionately in the power of film to delight audiences, inspire creativity, build and bridge communities, and change lives. The Picture House offers a distinct alternative to commercial movie theaters by providing dynamic film and education programs to a diverse and multi-generational audience in Westchester County, the Bronx, and Connecticut. In an area sorely lacking for art-house film programming and film education opportunities, we work to transform the local cinematic landscape.

The historic Pelham Picture House, which had been continuously operating as a movie theater since 1921, is set to be demolished to become a retail bank. A group of citizens establishes the nonprofit organization, Pelham Picture House Preservation, to purchase and preserve the theater.

Pelham Picture House Preservation raises just under $1,000,000 from the surrounding communities – enough to acquire the theater and keep it open.

The Pelham Picture House is nominated for listing on New York State Register of Historic Places.

Pelham Picture House Preservation officially acquires the theater and changes its name to The Picture House Regional Film Center (informally, The Picture House) – reflecting the organization’s new mission to transform the theater into an independent film and education center. Government leaders such as Representative Nita Lowey, State Senator Jeff Klein, and Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, publicly support The Picture House’s efforts.

The organization hires a professional staff to execute The Picture House’s mission.

The Picture House officially launches its second capital campaign – the Campaign to renovate, restore, and expand the theater. The expansion plan includes two additional theaters, a film education space, expanded lobby, and administrative offices.

Due to the poor economy, The Picture House elects to scale back the building design and the Capital Campaign goal. The new expansion plan includes a two-story addition onsite that houses a 98-seat theater and a dedicated film education institute. With new Board Members and additional professional staff, The Picture House begins an ambitious programmatic build-out that includes the organization’s first original education initiatives.

The Picture House launches its first two original film series: the preview series Reel Insider, featuring discussions with film talent and critics, and the classic series Sunday Essentials. The inaugural Summer 2009 season of Reel Insider sees a slew of exciting new films and talent, inspiring Westchester magazine to name Reel Insider as one of its “52 Reasons to Love Westchester.” The Picture House also moves forward with the Capital Campaign, finalizing the design plans and commencing the public hearings process for the expansion.

The Picture House completes fundraising for the renovations and celebrates the beginning of construction with a Groundbreaking Ceremony on September 13. Prior to the theater closing, The Picture House launched two additional film series: Family Flicks, featuring beloved classic films for all ages, and An Evening With… An Evening With… puts renowned film artists in conversation with critics and with Picture House audience members. The Picture House also partners with the Westchester Italian Cultural Center to host the Tenth Westchester Italian Film Festival offsite while the theater is closed.

The Picture House will open its doors early in the year to a renovated and restored theater, brand-new films series (TopDocs, Women on Film, Global Lens) and film education offerings, and its first-ever membership program. The organization will celebrate the historic theater’s 90th year in existence with The Picture House 90th Birthday Gala on April 9.