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Pickford Film Center

The Pickford Film Center provides a forum and resource for independent cinema, strengthening community through education, dialogue, and the celebration of film. Tax ID 91-1891456


Our Beginnings
In 1998 a group of local film-lovers formed a nonprofit organization to revive a small independent movie theater in downtown Bellingham and to establish and maintain a viable showcase for alternative cinema in Whatcom County. On November 20, 1998, Pickford Film Center (PFC) opened the doors of the Pickford Cinema, an intimate 90-seat venue that recalled the small art houses of the ‘60s and ‘70s, providing local filmgoers an opportunity to see films that previously did not come to Bellingham. Primarily a venue for documentaries, independent and foreign film, the Pickford was a welcomed addition to the revitalization of downtown Bellingham. Pickford Film Center received the Mayor’s Arts Award for 1999.

Growth & Building
The Pickford evolved into a well-loved community landmark. With attendance steadily increasing, PFC realized it would outgrow its tiny space. In 2000, the organization began to explore buildings downtown to find a new facility for its operations. In 2004, the historical building at 1318 Bay Street was purchased by PFC. 2005 was the first official year of the Capital Campaign and six years later, after raising over $3 million from individuals, corporations, private foundations, the state of Washington and city of Bellingham, the campaign was complete and the Pickford Film Center was a reality. 2011 was also the year that PFC made the decision to retain the third screen of the original Pickford Cinema – renovating the space and renaming it the Limelight Cinema.

Pickford Film Center Today
Today PFC is able to accomplish its goals and provide its programs by the generous support of its 5,000 members, over 150 volunteers, and through donations, sponsors and grants. Looking to the future, the organization intends to expand its educational and outreach programs, foster the growth of the local filmmaking community and continue bringing high-quality films to Bellingham for all ages to enjoy. In addition to operating two full-time theaters in downtown Bellingham, PFC also produces a variety of themed film programming throughout the year, featuring collections from specific directors and genres.