1416 Cornwall Avenue
The Pickford Cinema is indeed a welcome addition to downtown Bellingham. As the only independent theater in Whatcom County, it fills a void by providing local filmgoers an opportunity to see films that normally pass Bellingham by. Primarily a venue for independent, foreign and underground releases, the cinema offers a film experience quite different from the more familiar multiplex theaters.
The fact that real butter is served on the popcorn says a lot. The theater doesn't boast DTTS, AC-3, THX or any other marketing gimmicks. It doesn't have a 60-foot-tall screen housed in a gigantic cavern. This is a much friendlier, intimate setting where one can actually see the faces of the people you're watching the movie with. When you watch a film at the Pickford, it's more like attending a film festival. In a smaller venue, you're closer to the screen, you're drawn into the film and you experience it along with the rest of the audience. The audience also tends to be more appreciative and involved in what is happening onscreen. This is the way film watching was intended to be. The films are more engaging, the audience more sophisticated and the overall experience is more enjoyable.
Despite its recent opening, the theater has already enjoyed a warm public response having sold out several shows to date. The history of the Pickford is short at this point, having only been open since October, 1998. It is a revival of the defunct Grand Cinema by the newly formed non-profit organization, Whatcom Film Association, which also hosts the Fairhaven Outdoor Cinema and occasional showings at the Mount Baker Theater. Another unique aspect is that the theater staff is comprised mostly of volunteers -- three part-time employees operating the projection equipment, concessions, ticket taking and other aspects of the theater.
Be careful, this one is easy to miss. Go up Cornwall from the Rite-Aid and look for the white lights ringing the window of the cinema, about half-way up on the right side of the street.
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