Presentation by and discussion with director Jean Achache
This documentary is part of the series Mythic Cinema Theaters, initiated by Olga Prudhomme-Farges and Joël Farges to showcase the greatest cinema palaces in the world and for which the Byrd Theater was chosen to represent the United States. It tells the story of a theatre which would no longer exist without the recurrent mobilization of a city population. It is a love story between a film theater and its audience.
Cast & Crew
Director • Jean Achache
Screenwriter • Jean Achache
Producer • Olga Prudhomme-Farges
The Cultural Service
of the French Embassy:
Supporting Contribution for Documentary Screenings
What is the aspired outcome of the documentary series, Mythic Cinema Theaters?
Cinema cannot be dissociated from where it is showcased. “Home cinema” will never replace a grand and beautiful theater in which we can collectively enjoy all the emotions a film can arouse. This is what the series is trying to achieve, to not forget that cinema is an art which one can only fully enjoy when shared with others.
How did you come to know the Byrd Theatre? What sets it apart from other theaters that you have visited in the United States?
My film Un soir au Club opened the French Film Festival- Richmond, Virginia in 2013. That is when I first discovered the Byrd Theater, Richmond, and the Kirkpatricks. All good reasons to pay tribute to this cinematic landmark. What sets it apart is its intimate connection with its audience, and the mobilization of all for this anachronistic and irreplaceable milestone.
What will the audience gain from watching this film inside the actual Byrd Theater?
The “mise en abyme” will probably make for a very interesting experience. The audience will be able to complement their viewing of the film by actually looking at the theater itself, and I think that their point of view will be slightly altered by the discovery of new historical facts they did not necessarily know before.
What was your experience like, shooting in Virginia?
Shooting within such a short amount of time, in a city not too familiar and with complete strangers is always a gamble, an adventure. My experience in Richmond, my encounter with Isaac Regelson (professional location scouter and manager), Virginia Bertholet (independent producer) and the crew was one of the most successful ever. I found here a way of working very similar to what is practiced in France: very close to the subject, with a desire from all participants to contribute to the improvement of the film.