Thursday, January 22, 2015

Jan. 22 Press Release

Date January 22, 2015
To: All media for immediate release
Re: Richmond premiere of "Finding Vivian Maier" (Academy Award nominee)
From: The Bijou Film Center

“Finding Vivian Maier” (2014) is a movie about a mysterious photographer. From the 83-minute film, directed by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel, viewers learn that Vivian D. Maier was an eccentric nanny, a tall lady who spoke with an odd accent. Stemming from a serendipitous purchase at an auction Maier’s remarkable photographs have become known to the public, but only in the last few years.

When it came to selfies, Vivian Maier wrote the book.

In conjunction with our partners, The Byrd Theatre, Candela Books + Gallery, the VCUarts Department of Photography and Film, the Bijou Film Center will present the Richmond premiere of “Finding Vivian Maier” on Feb. 15, 2015, at 7 p.m., at the Byrd Theatre.

By the way, in the wake of its praise from movie critics, "Finding Vivian Maier" has been nominated for the Best Documentary Feature Oscar. It's a documentary that doubles as a mystery movie.

The film poses questions about its subject: Why would anyone take thousands upon thousands of photographs, then hide the images from the scrutiny of others? What was her background? Why would she not even make prints of a good many of them? If the photographer didn’t want to look at the souvenirs of frozen time she had captured, what was the point? Who was Vivian Maier?

Viewers of the film are shown clues. Vivian routinely photographed whatever caught her eye in her travels, mostly people on Chicago streets; it seems a good many of her subjects were strangers. She was quite opinionated. Gradually, we are prompted to suspect there was a dark side to her. Some of the now-adult children she minded as a nanny remember her fondly, others not so much. Regardless of her offbeat nature or her motives, one thing is for sure -- Vivian Maier (1926-2009) had quite a knack for knowing when to snap the shutter.

Now some art/photography critics are seeing Vivian Maier as one of the 20th century's great street photographers. Recently made prints of the scenes she happened upon and documented with her Rolleiflex are hanging in posh galleries. Other critics are resisting the popular culture momentum to lift Vivian's work to such a lofty perch.

Admission: Tickets at the box office will be $7.00. The proceeds from this one-time-only screening will be split between the Byrd Theatre Foundation's "Journey to the Seats" and the Bijou Film Center.

Advance tickets are now available online at Eventbrite for $5.00 (plus processing fee). Between Jan. 23 and Feb. 15, advance tickets can be purchased for $5.00 (cash or check) at Bygones Vintage Clothing, Candela Books + Gallery and Ipanema.

For the after-party at the New York Deli, to begin shortly after 9 p.m., the live music will be provided by Chez Roué. There will be no cover charge for this portion of the evening's entertainment.  

  • James Parrish: Email: Phone: (804) 564-3224.
  • Terry Rea: Email: Phone: (804) 938-7997.

About the Filmmakers and Their Award-Winning Film:

"Finding Vivian Maier" is distributed by IFC Films. It represents the directorial debut for both filmmakers.

Not long before her death, a huge cache of her photos was discovered by John Maloof, who was searching for old photos of a Chicago neighborhood. For $380 Maloof bought the trove in a storage box at an auction. All he knew was that it was chock full of photos, negatives and random junk. He took a chance. Maloof never spoke with Vivian. After her death he began discovering what his acquisition entailed. With its evidence of who the photographer was, it led him to wonder if Vivian was even who she said she was.

Maloof is a filmmaker/photographer/entrepreneur. He now serves as an overseer and marketer, a self-styled curator, of a significant portion of Vivian Maier’s work. He edited the book, "Vivian Maier: Street Photographer."

A former lawyer, Charlie Siskel is a television and film producer with movie credits that include "Bowling for Columbine" (2002), and "Religulous" (2008). He is the nephew of the late Gene Siskel, who was a Chicago-based film critic, best known as Roger Ebert's debating partner. 

Quotes from reviews:
Absorbing, touching and satisfyingly enjoyable. -- New York Times.

A faithful tribute. This fine documentary unveils the "mystery woman." -- The New Yorker.

More connect-the-dots detective thriller than traditional doc, John Maloof and Charlie Siskel’s revelatory riddle of a film unmasks a brilliant photographer who hid in plain sight. -- Entertainment Weekly

Riveting documentary about one of the 20th century’s greatest photographers. It’s no ordinary artist biopic. Haunting. -- Indiewire
More background on the film and filmmakers is available here.

Happy Hour before the screening and raffles:

Between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. there will be a pre-screening happy hour at the Portrait House, across Cary Street from The Byrd. The first of several drawings for raffle prizes (tickets $1.00 each) will take place in that time. Later drawings will be held at The Byrd and afterward at the New York Deli.

After the Screening:

Immediately following the screening of "Finding Vivian Maier" there will be a brief discussion about the photographer, her work and the film in the Byrd's auditorium. It will be led by Gordon Stettinius of Candela Books + Gallery. For those who would rather continue that conversation than take in the live music at the New York Deli, the discussion will move across Cary Street to the Portrait House. 

At the New York Deli the live music show will go on between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. The four virtuoso performers in the Chez Roué ensemble are:
  • Roger Carroll on saxophone and vocals
  • Debo Dabney on keyboard
  • Brian Sulser on bass. 
  • Johnny Hott on drums.
For Chez Roué fans it's important to bear in mind that this gig will be Roger Carroll's next-to-last performance in Richmond, before he moves to Chicago.

List of the event's partners and sponsors:

Click on the links to see websites for the Bijou's indispensable partners for this event, as well as the sponsors who have chimed in to help us put it together.
About the Bijou Film Center:

The Bijou Film Center's studio/office is now at 1 E. Broad St. in Richmond's downtown "arts district." That's the neighborhood in which we intend to find a location to establish a nonprofit film center, which will include a 100-to-120-seat movie theater auditorium, a small cafe and a film preservation business that will specialize in doing high-quality transfers of our clients' old Super 8 films and VHS videos to a digital format. We expect to launch that aspect of our endeavors in a few months. The cinema and cafe will take longer.

As we progress we will strive to become a hub for all things to do with film exhibition, film preservation and film production in Richmond. More information about the community that is forming around the Bijou Film Center can be found on the Bijou's Facebook page and its Bijou Backlight blogzine.

A hundred years ago Richmond's first movie theater, The Bijou, was already a fixture in the city's thriving theater district, some seven blocks east of our current digs on Broad Street. Richmond's first Bijou was the brainchild of a former baseball player named Jake Wells, who went on from there to establish a chain of 43 theaters in the Southeast.

The Bijou Film Center's founders:

James T. Parrish, Jr. is a fundraiser, artist and leader in the Richmond arts community. He was founder of the Richmond Flicker (1998-2008) and co-founder of the James River Film Society. He currently serves as the Director of Foundation Relations for Virginia Commonwealth University.

F.T. "Terry" Rea was the original manager of Richmond’s repertory cinema, the Biograph Theatre (1972-83). He was the founder/editor/publisher of SLANT (1985-94), a Fan District-based periodical, devoted to popular culture and politics. He is now a freelance artist/writer.

More Info: and


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