Movie House of Worship: Vancouver’s Vancity Theatre

By  · Published on February 10th, 2013

Vancouver International Film Centre and Vancity Theatre. Photo by Buchanan-Hermit.

“Movie Houses of Worship” is a regular feature spotlighting our favorite movie theaters around the world, those that are like temples of cinema catering to the most religious-like film geeks. This week, film critic Marina Antunes highlights one of her favorite theaters. Her comments are those quoted. If you’d like to suggest or submit a place you regularly worship at the altar of cinema, please email our weekend editor.

Vancity Theatre

Location: 1181 Seymour Street, Vancouver, BC Canada

Opened: September 2005, in time for that year’s Vancouver International Film Festival. The theater is part of the Vancouver International Film Centre, which is home to the fest, and the fest is the theater’s non-profit parent organization.

No. of screens: 1

Vancity Theatre Curtain. Photo by Marina Antunes

Current first-run titles:Oscar Shorts, though New Spanish Cinema week begins February 22 and includes screenings of Blancanienves and Sleep Tight.” [Ed: Also this month: 56.Up.]

Repertory programming: “A staple of the Vancity’s line-up is its repertory programming, which combines one-off screenings and week-long runs of more recent films and classics. The theatre is also well known for some of its regular movie nights including Music Monday’s and Cinema Salon.” [Ed: this week’s rep programming includes Funny Face, Flower Drum Song and Rocksteady: The Roots of Reggae.]

Special Events: “Vancity Theatre is host to a number of local film festivals and special events by local groups. Notable partnerships include Vancouver ACM Siggraph, which has brought all sorts of great modern classics to the Vancity (this year alone Siggraph’s Spark FX festival screened 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Exorcist and The Thing), The First Weekend Club (a Canadian organization which supports theatrical screenings of Canadian films) and Reel Causes.”

Why I worship here: “If the state of the art equipment and brilliant line-ups aren’t enough, the theatre also features the best seating of any theatre in town. Beautiful, lush and comfortable, the seats here are perfect for nightly double bills. One of the other reasons I love the Vancity is that the programming is often accompanied by an intro or post-screening discussions. Plus, any place that screens prints of Star Wars IV, V and VI, borrowed from the Lucasfilm vaults, is next to godliness in any movie lover’s book.”

Recent screening of note: “One-night-only sold out screening of Sound City. I swear the volume was turned up a little higher than usual and the crowd ate it up.”

Devotion to the concessions: “Popcorn, baked goods, fantastic fresh-made coffee and alcohol. Yes, beer and wine are served and can be consumed in the atrium. It’s a thing of beauty.”

Vancity Projection Room. Photo by Marina Antunes.

Last word: “If you’re not subscribed to the festival’s newsletter to keep up to date with upcoming programming, you’re doing yourself a great disservice. Not only are you missing out on a great collection of new and classic movies, but thanks to the mostly 18+ screenings, movie-loving audiences, the great volunteers and staff, not to mention the state of the art facility (the aforementioned seats are a bonus), you’re missing out on the best moviegoing experience in Vancouver.”

Marina Antunes is Assistant Managing Editor of the film site Quiet Earth and a member of the Online Film Critics Society. She’s based in Vancouver and can be followed on Twitter @themarina.

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Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.