The organizers behind the Bijou Film Center have announced on its Facebook page that after operating for a year at 304 E. Broad St., they will be taking time off from operating a physical space to "focus on building a stronger, more sustainable Bioju that will continue bringing important films, media voices and conversations to Richmond."
This Saturday, Sept. 16 will be the last day of screenings as the Bijou hosts the second annual Afrikana Independent Film Festival, as well as Monster Movie night with Jim Stramel.
"After an amazing year of learning the ups and downs of running an art house cinema on Broad Street, thanks to so many Bijou members and patrons and an amazing landlord [Matt Bauserman]," co-founder James Parrish tells Style, "I'm really excited about the opportunity to shift gears and focus on building a better Bijou for our community. Look for the Bijou to pop-up in some unexpected places."
Parrish notes that good films bring people out, but good films alone won't insure the Bijou's success.
"We need a bigger and better location (which we knew) to allow for multiple sources of revenue," he explains. "A cafe/bar for more concession sales, space for film transfer business, classrooms, better parking/access to the Bijou, listing in Fandango, and more community partnerships like we had for "Citizen Jane." The Bijou will be most successful as a community-based film center, not as a movie theater."
Parrish believes they have a solid business plan in place to sustain the center, including a large base of annual members, donors, grants, and partnerships.
"Small is beautiful and we need to focus on our ability to be nimble and responsive to the needs and wants of our community," he adds.
The below message was posted online earlier today by Parrish:
Over the next year, we will present a series of pop-up events in various locations around Richmond while we develop a strategic plan, establish our non-profit board of directors (we got our non-profit status in April), strengthen our financial position (through membership renewals, fundraising, applying for grants, and events), establish stronger partnerships with community organizations, and look for a location large enough to house a 50-100 seats, a cafe/bar, administrative offices, film to video transfer and editing workstations, and classrooms.
We've already got two pop-up events scheduled at the Richmond Public Library-Main Branch -- "Voices from Charlottesville" with the Richmond Peace Education Center on Sept. 28 and Home Movie Day 2017 on Oct. 21. For more info on these and other upcoming Bijou events, visit the Bijou's FB page: https://www.facebook.com/bijoufilmcenter/ and click on Events.
Now, as we make our next big Bijou move, we need your help again. Please consider renewing your Bijou membership, becoming a new member or making a gift, attracting new members, finding a new location, and volunteering!