“Finding Vivian Maier” to be screened at the Byrd

Amelia Heymann
Contributing Writer

Vivian Maier,Self-portrait, 1963. 12″ x 12″ printed 2014. Gelatin silver print

It’s often been said that an artist is never truly recognized until after they’re dead. This saying runs tried and true with photographer Vivian Maier.

On Feb. 15 at the Byrd Theater, the story of a lost artist will be told in the documentary movie “Finding Vivian Maier.”

“Finding Vivian Maier” tells the story of a woman who took thousands of photographs only to hide them from the world. This movie examines the motives behind her actions to try to solve the mystery behind one of the 20th century’s best street photographers. Terry Rea, one of the two founders of the Bijou Film Center, an organization that is sponsoring and hosting the event, said, “It’s a documentary but doubles as a mystery movie.”

“This is the Richmond premiere of the movie,” Rea added, “so it will be the first time that people will be able to see this on the big screen.” “Finding Vivian Maier” has also been nominated for an Academy Award this year. The Academy Awards will take place one week after the movie screening.

“We think it will win,” Rea said.

There will be events before and after the movie as well. A special happy hour will take place at Portrait House before the movie, and after the movie there will be a post-screening discussion about Maier’s work in the Byrd auditorium. If you’re still not satisfied with the evening’s events, following the discussion there will be a musical performance by the Chez Roué group at New York Deli.

Throughout the night there will be raffle drawings at pre and post-movie events, with tickets at just $1 each. Rea said that the raffle prizes include a brand new Bijou T-shirt, DVDs and books about Vivian Maier, or a gift certificate for a photography lesson at the Visual Arts Center. All prizes were donated by sponsors such as VCU’s Department of Photography and Film, and Candela Books + Gallery, who all contributed in some way to help bring the movie to town. Ticket proceeds go to both the Byrd Theatre and the Bijou Film Center, both non-profit organizations. While the Bijou Film Center building doesn’t actually exist yet, the money will help bring the idea to life.

Terry Rea and James Parrish are currently working towards making the Bijou Film Center a physical location. Rea says that it will be a small movie theater, seating maybe 120, including a small cafe, and restored old super eight movies on DVDs. They also hope to work with film producers in Richmond.

Rea said they wanted their theater to show “gourmet movies” or movies that other Richmond theaters aren’t playing already. These include foreign films, documentaries and old classics.

However, Rea admits, “it’s a ways off.” Richmond may be waiting a while for the Bijou Film Center, but going to see “Finding Vivian Maier” will bring this project one step closer to becoming a reality.

Tickets can be purchased in advance for $5 online at Everbrite with a slight service fee, or in a few local Richmond businesses including Bygones Vintage Clothing, Candela Books + Gallery or Ipanema. Tickets will be $7 at the box office.

For more information about the film or the Bijou Film Center, click here.


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