Exciting News About Lightbox's Future

By: Lightbox Film Center


International House Philadelphia’s 40-year-old film program will relaunch at UArts in 2020

PHILADELPHIA (October 14, 2019) – Ensuring the continuation of Philadelphia’s premier year-round exhibitor of film and moving image art, International House Philadelphia (IHP) and University of the Arts (UArts) announced today that the Lightbox Film Center program will transfer from IHP to UArts starting in January 2020.

The transfer will allow Lightbox to continue to present an unparalleled slate of repertory, nonfiction, experimental and international cinema to Philadelphia audiences, while drawing upon UArts’ School of Film and artist community. UArts will hire current Lightbox Chief Curator Jesse Pires as the founding director and curator of Lightbox Film Center at University of the Arts. Following the conclusion of screenings at IHP’s Ibrahim Theater at the end of the year, the program will relaunch in February 2020 with regular screenings on the University’s Avenue of the Arts campus.

“As part of our ongoing efforts to reposition IHP in a changing Philadelphia, we have worked hard to find the best new home for Lightbox that will allow the program’s unique mission and audience to continue to be well-served,” said International House Philadelphia President & CEO Josh Sevin. “We are thrilled with today’s announcement, which ensures a bright and sustainable future for this wonderful program.”

Lightbox will join UArts’ thriving community of artists, filmmakers, designers, dancers, musicians, performers and writers on the Avenue of the Arts, in the cultural heart of Philadelphia. The University 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 Street, which the university is currently transforming into a comprehensive student center. UArts has already received a $1.5 million contribution from the Hamilton Family Charitable Trust designated towards the multi-use center and screening room on the lower level. The 401 S. Broad Street project is just one of several major initiatives underway at UArts which are a part of the comprehensive campaign, Uniquely UArts. In the interim, the Lightbox program will operate out of the Levitt Auditorium also located within 401 S. Broad Street, and benefit from presentation opportunities off the silver screen within the many professional galleries and stages the university affords.

“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 university-wide center, Lightbox will foster collaboration across the University’s seven schools and more than 40 programs while continuing to engage the broader public. We are excited to welcome Jesse’s exceptional vision and talent to the UArts community and to work together to preserve and grow this beloved institution.”

IHP has operated the film program since 1979 and rebranded it as Lightbox Film Center in 2017. Earlier this year, IHP announced plans to sell its building at 3701 Chestnut Street as part of a broader repositioning strategy for the nonprofit and to seek a new home for the Lightbox program.

“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!”

This announcement comes on eve of 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, Lightbox’s Emshwiller retrospective will run from October 18 – December 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 at University of the Arts. For more information about Dream Dance, visit www.lightboxfilmcenter.org/dreamdance.