The pandemic has been a chrysalis of sorts for the Vancouver International Film Centre (VIFC).
Although the VIFC’s Vancity Theatre closed during lockdown measures while cinematic selections were instead streamed online, the centre itself was scheduled to close to the public as it underwent its first major renovations in 15 years.
It was at a news conference for last year’s Vancouver International Film Festival that the VIFC announced the news on September 14, 2019, that it had received $1.4 million in federal funding for the project.
Vancouver’s Mcfarlane Biggar Architects designed the $2.8 million transformation for the centre, located located 1181 Seymour Street in Downtown Vancouver.
Among the changes is a new 41-seat Studio Theatre microcinema—for small audience presentations—with retractable seating, a removable wall, a 17-foot wide screen with a 4K resolution projector, and 11-point surround sound.
A New Media Lab will have three 46-inch displays that will show new media work and will also have three virtual reality headsets for showing interactive projects. Meanwhile, a 500-square-foot education suite features a presentation system with 70-inch display.
Other improvements include a video wall (consisting of nine screens to form a 12-by-7-foot display) in the atrium to feature trailers and artwork, and a relocated concession stand with new seating and menu.
The renovated centre opens to the public late afternoon on Sept. 24, which is also the opening of the 2020 Vancouver International Film Festival.
This year’s festival will include a selection of screenings at Vancity Theatre and the Cinematheque, in addition to screenings online as well as a variety of talks and events.
Renderings of what the new space will look like, with some comparisons of how it used to look, are below.