Join us in Philadelphia on Wed-Fri June 21-23 for the Convergence Regional Seminar.
Hosted by the Ambler Theater, the Bryn Mawr Film Institute, and the Philadelphia Film Society, we promise you a stimulating three days in the City of Brotherly Love.


Day 1: Wed, June 21 @ Ambler Theater

The Regional Convergence kicks off around noon at the Ambler Theater with a day of panels and capped with a cocktail reception, dinner, and a screening.
  • 11:30am-12:30pm Registration / Lunch sponsored by Agile Ticketing Solutions
  • 12:30pm-12:45 Welcome
  • 12:45-1:35 Expansion Case Studies: Go behind-the-scenes at the Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville and the County Theater in Doylestown to learn the details about each theater’s expansion project. The Colonial has just completed an $8 million transformation to their classic 1903 single screen theater. The County is deep in the planning and fund-raising process to expand their 1938 art deco twin (an estimated $4 million project). An intimate look at these two theaters and the challenges and successes of each campaign.
  • 1:50-2:40 Everyone is Involved in Development - Throughout our organizations, each is a part of the development process. Raising funds is being in relationship with our donors/members and patrons. It involves not only our “small development shops” but our directors, our boards, our staff in our theaters and offices, we all have a part to play in the success of our theaters. Fundraising is an integral part of activity – whether a programmer, a director or a board volunteer. Three Development Directors, from Renew Theaters, the Bryn Mawr Film Institute, and The Philadelphia Film Society, share their take on how this can be accomplished.
  • 2:55-3:45 Making the Most of your Local Network - Learn tips, tricks and dirty secrets from a local trio of Pennsylvania art houses. The Midtown Cinema in Harrisburg, Zoetropolis Art House in Lancaster, and SMALL STAR Art House in York share how they network locally to boost each other's business practices. Hear about the collaborative ways they work together, how alliances between theaters can expand perspectives and success, and how you can implement these practices at your theater and with your neighbors.
  • 4pm-5:30pm Trailer Wars - Beta Version - Trailer Wars is a Battle of the Bands Style competition between theaters to show off their best in-house trailers. Eight theaters will compete in three rounds which will be judged by the audience. Winning theaters will move on to the next round with a new trailer until a champion is crowned. Both entertaining and enlightening, this panel will show off the best talent of our colleagues and will contain an interview component so the creators can share their technical and artistic strategies.
  • 5:30pm-6:30pm Cocktail Reception sponsored by Spotlight Cinema Networks
  • 6:30pm-8:30pm Dinner on your own
  • 8:30 Screening: BEACH RATS - Eliza Hittman's second feature, coming on the heels of IT FELT LIKE LOVE, won the Directing Award: US Dramatic at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Frankie, an aimless teenager on the outer edges of Brooklyn, is having a miserable summer. He escapes the bleakness of his home life by causing trouble with his delinquent friends and flirting with older men online. As Frankie struggles to reconcile his competing desires, his decisions leave him hurtling toward irreparable consequences. Screening sponsored by Patron Technology.

Day 2: Thurs, June 22 @ Bryn Mawr Film Institute

We will head over to BMFI on Thursday morning for more panels, a special event with the inventor of the Steadicam, and more. Following the BMFI leg, we will have options for evening events in the city including a group run up the Rocky Steps.
  • 8am Bus departs Ambler to BMFI
  • 9am-10am Registration / Coffee sponsored by Agile Ticketing Solutions
  • 10am-11:15 The Evolution of Suburban Art Houses and Bryn Mawr Film Institute - Variously known as the Seville Theater, the Bryn Mawr Theater, and Bryn Mawr Film Institute, the building located at 824 West Lancaster Avenue has been home to film in Bryn Mawr for 90 years. BMFI board member and former Paramount Pictures Executive Vice President John Hersker will dig into the storied past of BMFI’s historic building with an illustrated lecture that gives special attention to the 1960s and 70s, when Hersker managed the theater and it transitioned from showing run-of-the-mill Hollywood films to BMFI’s now-standard arthouse fare. BMFI Board Chair Juliet Goodfriend will then discuss her fifteen year (and counting) journey to revitalize film in Bryn Mawr by rescuing the property from developers, implementing a three-phased restoration and modernization strategy, and establishing a nationally-recognized destination for film exhibition and education. A short tour will follow the remarks, time-permitting.
  • 11:30 -12:30 Telling Tales out of School: Stakeholders Discuss Film Education for Adults - This session will begin with an overview of BMFI’s film education program for adults, which offers more than 30 courses to nearly 1200 students annually, but its focus will be on some of the people who make the whole thing go. Students and instructors will share their experiences at BMFI, and discuss some of the opportunities and challenges of learning and teaching about film at an art house.
  • 12:30-2:00 Lunchtime Conversation with Steadicam inventor Garrett Brown - Over a gourmet boxed lunch, get to know the renowned cinematographer Garrett Brown, who transformed the process of making motion pictures forever with his breakthrough invention: the Steadicam. Used in scores of beloved films (Rocky, Marathon Man, The Shining, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Casino, etc, etc.), the revolutionary technology--for which Brown earned an Academy Award for technical excellence in 1978--allows camera operators to move freely while maintaining a stable and steady line of vision for the camera. Holder of more than 60 patents worldwide, this impressive man will talk innovation and answer questions from the audience at this special lunchtime session. Lunch sponsored by Art House Cinema Solutions.
  • 2:15-3:15 Steal My Program - In this pitch session, participants will have 10 minutes to detail a successfully mounted program and lay out all the tools needed for others to recreate it. Hear about JBFC Kids from Jacob Burns Film Center, Movies on the Block from the Philadelphia Film Society, and Drawesome from Alamo Drafthouse Yonkers, among other amazing (and easily “stealable”!) programming ideas.
  • - - - -
  • 3:15pm Bus to Phila Art Museum “Rocky Steps” for group photo
  • 3:45pm Bus to Marriott Hotel
  • 4:00pm Bus #1 back to Ambler
  • 4pm-8pm Free Time in Philly (Cocktails, Dinner, Touring)
  • 8pm Bus #2 back to Ambler

Day 3: Fri, June 23 @ PFS Prince Theater

Our final morning kicks off with a bagel breakfast at the PFS Prince Theater and one final panel.
  • 9am-10am Bagel Breakfast at PFS Prince Theater sponsored by Boston Light & Sound
  • 10am-11am Behind the Fest: Exploring Film Festival Operations - Big or small, Film Festivals are a unique, enlightening, and invigorating event for both audience members and staff alike. A Film Festival can also be a logistical circus, integrating professionals from film programming, venue management, hospitality, events, marketing, and the independent film world to create a cohesive and enjoyable experience for thousands of guests. Join the Philadelphia Film Society and representatives from some of the most esteemed Festivals in the Greater Philadelphia Area to get a behinds the scenes look at Film Festival Operations. The panel will cover venues, staffing, Ops nightmares (and how we fixed them) and more.

$125/person. No group rates or discounts.

Hotel Details
Fort Washington Holiday Inn - SOLD OUT
432 Pennsylvania Ave
Fort Washington, PA 19034

Fort Washington Hilton Garden Inn - Recommended for Tuesday and Wednesday
530 W. Pennsylvania Ave
Fort Washington, PA 19034
Book your room today! $209/night

Both hotels are located within walking distance from Fort Washington Regional Rail Station. To get to the Ambler Theater, please take the Lansdale/Doylestown (towards Doylestown) line one stop (3 min) to Ambler station.

If you are planning to stick around on Thurs night, we are providing hotel options in downtown Philadelphia as well...

Philadelphia Marriott Downtown
1201 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

$299/night for June 22.


Some Things to do Thursday Night (or over the weekend) in Downtown Philly

  1. Pop-up Beer Gardens - Philly is widely becoming known for it pop-up beer garden scene. Here are a couple great ones to check out:
    1. Parks on Tap in Paine’s Park - Right near the Rocky Steps (Here’s another article with more info.)
    2. Here’s an article listing 30+ Other Beer Gardens in the city
      1. Three notes about this article
        1. The bar at Eakins Oval isn’t open yet,
        2. The Chinese Lantern festival has closed, but, can sit outside and sip a beer, while looking at the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.
  2. Other Special Summer Events
    1. Big Bling - Also, something of note, there is a traveling public art installation we have for a limited time. The Big Bling is along the Schuykill River on Kelly Drive, about a mile and a half north of the PMA. It would be about a 5 minute drive from the museum. It’s a nice 30 minute walk along the river past boathouse row from Paine’s Park. It could be a fun little trek with nice views of the city if someone didn’t want to go in town to drink. ( Map )
    2. The Riverrink Summerfest has riverside roller skating and mini golf! It’s right next to the Spruce Street Harbor park. Weather permitting, that destination seems super fun and able to accommodate excessively large groups of drinkers and nondrinkers.
  3. History
    1. The Liberty Bell - If you want to get in line to see it, you can, but you can also stand on Chestnut Street and see it from there.
    2. Independence Hall - Sadly, they don’t let you climb out on the roof to look for Ben Franklin’s magic glasses.
    3. National Constitution Center - Name kinda says it all.
    4. Museum of the American Revolution - Brand new museum that just opened in April dedicated to the story of the Revolutionary War.
  4. Other Museums
    1. The Barnes Foundation - One of Philadelphia’s crown jewels. A staggering collection of impressionist art.
    2. The Philadelphia Museum of Art - World class art museum widely known as the perfect training location for boxers.
    3. The Rodin Museum - On the parkway between the Barnes and PMA is this gem of a museum featuring Rodin sculptures.
    4. The Academy of Natural Sciences - Natural history museum and working labs. Best known for outfitting Lewis and Clark. Their specimens are on display. Also, cool dinosaur skeletons.
    5. The Franklin Institute - Our science museum. With an OMNIVERSE IMAX screen. Last I checked they were still using 70mm and had not gone digital.
    6. The Magic Gardens - Covering an indoor and outdoor space equivalent to half a city block, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens glisten with creativity, urban renaissance and a hint of madness.
    7. Eastern State Penitentiary - This imposing Quaker prison in the middle of the city was revolutionary for the idea of everyone serving their time in solitary. Yikes! And Gilliam’s Twelve Monkeys was shot here!
  5. Food
    1. Reading Terminal Market - Right next to the Marriot hotel, this covered market has it all from Cheesesteaks to Roast Pork Sandwiches to stalls featuring the best from the Pennsylvania Dutch. Check out the donuts at Beiler’s Bakery.
    2. Cheesesteaks - The tourists go to Pat’s and Geno’s - across the street from each other in South Philly. If you want to go deep and compare, you can also check out Tony Luke’s, Jim’s South Street, or (Chris’ personal favorite) John’s Roast Pork.
    3. “South Philly Taco” - If you really want to do it up - grab a cheesesteak from Jim’s then cross the street and get a giant slice from Lorenzo’s. Wrap the steak in the slice of pizza. Heart attack city. (While you are waiting for the ambulance, look across the street at the mural to Larry Fine - one of the Stooges and Philly native.)
    4. The 9th Street Italian Market - If you are at Pat’s and Geno’s you can walk directly north and browse the Italian Market. Amazing collection of cheese, pasta, pastry, butchers, etc. It is also a block away from Little Saigon and some of the best Mexican restaurants in the city.
    5. Great meals - Philly is known as one of the places NY chefs head to when they want to open their own place at less than half the cost. Our food scene is amazing. Check out this list of 50 Best Restaurants if you want a memorable meal.
  6. “Happening” Neighborhoods - None of those other things strike your fancy? Want to just explore? Here are two great neighborhoods to get lost in - trendy shops, great food, amazing cocktails, etc. These are the hip places to be.
    1. Fishtown - Take the Market-Frankford line up to Girard and check out this hip enclave. It has everything - the best Pizza in the US , axe-throwing classes, a coffee bar / rum distillery, small-batch ice cream, BBQ, a Barcade... This is our version of Brooklyn. Here’s a detailed list of places to eat and drink around Fishtown.
    2. East Passyunk - An amazing mix of old school South Philly and trendy. This great stretch has some of the best Italian restaurants in the city next to the highest rated restaurants next to an out-of-this-world British pie shop all nestled between amazing bars, shops, and real Philly ambience.
      1. If you are feeling fancy, the chef at this East Passyunk restaurant won Top Chef. (And was featured in that recent doc King Georges .)

Design by KC Biedlingmaier and Renew Theaters, Inc.
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