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Rafael Film Center Recognizes $2.5 Million with Name Change

Rafael Film Center Recognizes $2.5 Million with Name Change

Rafael Film Center Recognizes $2.5 Million with Name Change

by Brian Brooks

Christopher B. Smith, philanthropist who donated $2.5 million to the Rafael Film Center.

Courtesy of The California Film Institute

The California Film Institute’s year-round cinematheque venue, the Rafael Film Center in San Rafael, CA will change its name to the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center beginning in April. The name change will honor the philanthropist’s $2.5 million in donations over five years to the restored three-screen Art Deco theater and the Institute, which also organizes the annual Mill Valley Film Festival.

Operation and ownership of the theater, which screens U.S. independent and international films as well as retrospective series, student outreach programs, seminars and artistic forums, will continue through the California Film Institute. The theater had its “grand re-opening” with the world premiere of “Election” in 1999, and, along with the Sequoia Theatre in nearby Mill Valley, screens films in the annual Mill Valley Film Festival, which takes place this year October 2nd through 12th.

“The Rafael provides exhibition for many talented filmmakers whose work might never have been seen,” said Smith in a California Film Institute press release. “I am proud to have the opportunity to support an organization with this singular vision that can act as an incredible artistic exhibition venue and a forum for community involvement and discussion.”

Smith began his involvement with the organization with an entry-level membership in the early ’90s. He also supports the film festival and is a member of the California Film Institute Board of Directors. The organization’s honorary film committee members include George Lucas, Saul Zaentz, and Francis Ford Coppola. Entry forms for the Mill Valley Film Festival are available April 1st with the early deadline, May 31st.

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