Lightbox Film Center to Transfer to UArts

October 14, 2019

University of the Arts and International House Philadelphia (IHP) have announced that the two institutions will ensure the continuation of Philadelphia’s premier year-round exhibitor of film and moving image art by transferring the Lightbox Film Center program from IHP to UArts, beginning in January 2020.

The transfer will allow Lightbox to continue to present an unparalleled slate of repertory, nonfiction, experimental and international film while drawing upon UArts’ School of Film and its artistic community. Lightbox Chief Curator Jesse Pires will be the founding director and curator of Lightbox Film Center at University of the Arts. When screenings conclude at IHP’s Ibrahim Theater at the end of the year, Lightbox will relaunch in February 2020 with regular screenings on the university’s campus.

“The addition of the Lightbox program offers unrivaled alignment with UArts’ strategic vision and mission to advance human creativity,” said UArts President and CEO David Yager. “As a universitywide center, Lightbox will foster collaboration across the university’s seven schools and more than 40 programs, while continuing to engage the broader public.” 

UArts is already committed to building a purpose-designed screening room on Broad Street, which will become the primary home of Lightbox Film Center at University of the Arts. The screening room will be housed in the lower level of 401 S. Broad St., which is currently being transformed into a comprehensive student center. 

Thanks to the generosity of the Hamilton Family Charitable Trust, UArts has designated $1.5 million for a multiuse center and screening room on the lower level. In the interim, the Lightbox program will operate out of Levitt Auditorium, also located at 401 S. Broad St.

“I am extremely excited to be part of this new era for Lightbox at University of the Arts,” said Lightbox Chief Curator Jesse Pires. “This is a unique opportunity to build upon the rich foundation established over the past 40 years of film at IHP, and UArts offers a perfect new home to continue to expand our ambitious and thought-provoking programming.”

While Lightbox has thrived for 40 years, UArts’ Film program is celebrating its 50th anniversary this fall. Together, the two bring 90 years of film experience to the Avenue of the Arts, and build upon two legacies that already share significant overlap and influence. UArts’ own Wendy Weinberg, the current Dean of the School of Film and Associate Professor, formerly served as the workshop coordinator for the Philadelphia Independent Film and Video Association as well as pre-screener and committee member of the Philadelphia Festival of World Cinema in the 1990s, both of which were initiatives founded as a part of Lightbox, then known as the Neighborhood Film/Video Project.

“I’m particularly delighted that our students will have the opportunity to not only view exceptional work but also to be engaged in the curatorial process,” said Dean of the School of Film at University of the Arts, Wendy Weinberg. “Broad Street is the perfect place to expand our film community, with students and enthusiastic local cinephiles in close contact. The eclectic mix of programming will reach diverse audiences and the collaborations we can only begin to imagine will benefit all the arts up and down the Avenue. I can’t wait!”

The partnership was announced just prior to the opening of Dream Dance: The Art of Ed Emshwiller, the first major monographic exhibition of the artist’s groundbreaking work in film, video and visual art. Funded by the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, the Emshwiller retrospective will run from Oct. 18 to Dec. 7 and include a series of screenings at IHP and an exhibition of the artist’s paintings, illustrations and archival material at the Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery. 

The opening reception for the retrospective will take place Friday, Oct. 18, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery, 333 S. Broad St., Philadelphia. It is free and open to the public. 

Learn more about Dream Dance