Bryn Mawr Film Institute

About BMFI

Bryn Mawr Film Institute (BMFI) is a nonprofit, member-supported, motion picture theater and film education center. BMFI is dedicated to promoting shared experiences that entertain, engage, and educate audiences through a diverse range of independent-minded films, a full curriculum of courses, and an extensive program of special events. BMFI builds community through film culture, while maintaining strong connections to its historic venue's cinematic past.

Film Exhibition

BMFI shows the best in independent, international, documentary, art, and repertory films. These fine films form the nucleus around which the community development and educational programs of the Institute revolve. Over 2,000 patrons visit BMFI weekly for films, classes, and special events.

BMFI's film programming is anchored by two first-run films which are screened approximately 40 times a week. In addition, weekly programming includes between three and five repertory films or cultural presentations such as simulcast opera and theater. In 2009, there were about 100,000 admissions.

The One Night Only films and Film Series often include new and independent films presented with filmmaker discussions; repertory films are often presented with introductions by film scholars or subject matter experts. BMFI provides Going Gaga screenings for parents with babies and a Kids Matinees film series specially geared toward children. On the first Monday of every month, BMFI holds Open Screen Mondays, a chance for area filmmakers to screen their films at our theater on the big screen, free of charge.

BMFI presents filmed performances of operas from prestigious venues, including La Scala and the Salzburg Festival, as well as live simulcasts of operas from around the globe. Opera presentations include talks with staff from the Opera Company of Philadelphia. Patrons may purchase tickets for an entire series or for individual performances. BMFI also presents plays via live-delay simulcast from the National Theatre in London.

Film Education

BMFI educational programs serve approximately 800 adults per year. A robust, in-house film education department, with faculty and guest lecturers, offers seminars and courses on film history, screenwriting, film appreciation, and many other film-related topics. Throughout the year, several month-long educational courses run concurrently; on average, 15 to 20 courses per year are offered. One-day seminars and full semester courses are also offered.

Pennsylvania educators may be able to receive Act 48 credit when they attend BMFI's course, The Language of Film, thanks to our partnership with the University of the Arts.

In 2005, BMFI launched the Jacob Burns Film Center's See, Hear, Feel Film program, which brings visual literacy and critical viewing education to third-grade students in the Delaware Valley. The program has grown since its inception and now an average of 800 school children enjoy the program annually. Additionally, BMFI serves junior high, senior high, and college students through a variety of film literacy and appreciation curricula. Screenwriting and filmmaking courses are offered for various age groups.

BMFI is also home to the George Rehrauer Collection, a gift from the Haverford School, in our Film Studies Library. This collection of over 2,000 books is available for loan to Bryn Mawr Film Institute members.

Select films are followed by moderated discussions that take place in the second floor Multimedia Room. A partial list of these interactive programs includes:

  • Friday afternoon discussions run by in-house faculty for particularly inspiring or provocative films currently being screened, e.g., An Inconvenient Truth and Precious
  • Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia's character-based discussions following the screening of a newly released film one Sunday a month
  • French Chats discussion group that meets in conjunction with French-language movies shown at BMFI.

BMFI also hosts Talk Cinema, a film series which offers its subscribers a unique selection of quality films independently curated by film critic Harlan Jacobson, a 30-year industry veteran. Each series previews independent and foreign films before their release. Screenings are followed by discussions led by scholars, critics, and filmmakers.

BMFI has a more varied program of feature, documentary, and alternative film offerings, than any theater in the region.


BMFI has over 6,000 members, among the largest membership of any such theater in the country. Membership is offered at several levels. Membership benefits include:

  • Discounted admission to all films (free admission at Mogul level and above)
  • Discounts on film education courses
  • Advance ticket sales at the box office
  • Invitations to free sneak previews
  • Access to BMFI Film Studies library
  • Program guide mailings
  • Discounted admission to the Ambler Theater and the County Theater
  • $1 discount on TLA movie rentals
  • Discounts at area businesses and attractions

Box Office