The Marquee

What’s happening at The Picture House

Better Together: Pelham and Bronxville

by Laura deBuys

Our dreams don’t always turn out the way we imagine. Ever since the Picture House Regional Film Center was a twinkle in the eyes of its founders and early supporters, expansion has been the goal, the big dream. It has, at various times, taken shape differently — from an impressive towering glass dream, to a wood slatted long and lean dream, or a dream incorporating adjacent property. Just before the pandemic, the dream was getting closer to reality as we began planning for a gorgeous renovation of the existing theater in Pelham, complete with a two-story addition housing new theaters, education spaces, and a community green in the middle. Oh, and it had a substantial price tag and fundraising goal that seemed doable, pre-COVID.

What the dream never looked like is what it will be as of February 11: A regional film center with TWO 1920s era theaters (Pelham and Bronxville) with FIVE screens providing film, education, and community programming across Westchester.

Some may ask, why the need for expansion? The answer is two-fold:

  1. Access: To play movies right when they open (called first run), film distributors require that you exhibit those films without interruption, i.e. without a break for the kind of programming The Picture House is known for — our Film Club, Q&As with industry guests, advance screenings of about-to-open films, community events, and more. With the additional screens generated in this expansion, we will be able to move offerings from screen to screen, accommodating distributors’ mandates as well as our mission-driven programming — and,  importantly, bringing you the very best movies right when they open. 
  2. Mission: Our mission is to serve the diverse, multifaceted community of Westchester. We have been doing that with increasing success year over year…but we need more space in order to deliver the cultural and education programming that our community needs and deserves.

And then there’s our history. The Picture House Pelham was scheduled for demolition in 2003 — now it’s a thriving and essential community hub. The Bronxville cinema was slated to close permanently in 2021. There is something in the serendipity of the timing that is just joyously right in having these two theaters united as one organization for their second centuries. We look forward to seeing you at the movies — and more!