After working in film in New York and Los Angeles, and attending film festivals around the world, Philadelphia Film Society CEO and executive director Andrew Greenblatt has seen firsthand how important film can be to a city’s arts and culture scene. From programming the world’s best new films at the annual Philadelphia Film Festival to year-round, first-run and curated screenings at the Prince Theater and PFS Roxy, PFS has become a vital part of the film community in Philadelphia, providing constant access to films that educate, enlighten, inspire and entertain.
Andrew Greenblatt with Bhavna and M. Night Shyamalan at the 25th Annual Philadelphia Film Festival opening night celebration.
WHAT IS THE PHILADELPHIA FILM SOCIETY?
PFS is a member-supported nonprofit arts organization with an objective to utilize film’s unique capacity to engage a diverse audience, while further providing access to powerful films from around the world in order to increase education and understanding.
HOW HAS PFS CONTRIBUTED TO PHILLY’S ARTS AND CULTURE SCENE?
PFS’ year-round programming at the PFS Roxy, Prince and during the festival assure that Philadelphians have the opportunity to see many of the year’s most interesting, exciting, challenging, thought-provoking and highly anticipated films in a proper theatrical setting.
IN WHAT WAYS DOES PFS CONTRIBUTE TO THE CITY ITSELF?
PFS runs a variety of programs designed to contribute to and make a difference in the city. PFS On Us, supported by PNC Arts Alive, removes any barrier to entry for select films—both within the festival and year-round—by providing free tickets. And there’s Movies on the Block, in which PFS consults with various community and neighborhood leaders to understand what key issues concern that community, and then we select a film that addresses those topics for a free outdoor screening within the community itself.
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU?
It comes down to the power of film. Not only is film the most accessible art form, able to be experienced, enjoyed and critiqued without any formal training or background, but it has the unique ability to appeal broadly to diverse audiences, creating community and common understanding. At PFS, we rely not only on film’s ability to create community, but also its ability to inspire, to challenge world views and understanding, to break down boundaries and promote dialogue, and to speak to critical issues of the day.
WHAT’S ONE OF THE BEST MEMORIES FROM THIS YEAR’S FILM FESTIVAL?
Presenting Bruce Willis with our Lumiere Award. Recognizing Bruce for his incredible body of work, especially those films shot locally, was tremendous. And M. Night Shyamalan presenting him with the award, given their relationship, was a truly special moment. filmadelphia.org
Photography by: PHOTO BY HUGHE DILLION