OUR STORY, Bantam Cinema & Arts Center
The mission of the Bantam Cinema & Arts Center, Inc. is to preserve and operate the
historic Bantam Cinema and enhance the cultural vitality of the Litchfield Hills
through offering a diverse program of film, theater, music and visual arts that
seeks to inspire, educate, and engage its audience.
Welcome to the Bantam Cinema & Arts Center, a non-profit film and arts center located in the Northwest Corner of Connecticut and the oldest continuously operated movie theater in Connecticut. (We refuse to let COVID take this designation away from us!)
The cinema first opened in 1929 as the Rivoli Theater, constructed by a local grocer, Domenico Evangelisti, after his son David purchased a projector from The Bantam Ball Bearing Company and began showing silent movies and vaudeville acts. Since then subsequent owners continued the legacy of the theater and it has become a beloved cultural center for residents and visitors of Northwest Connecticut.
In 2020, like all cinemas around the world, the cinema was forced to close its doors due to COVID-19 and the owners could no longer maintain the cinema. To preserve this important cultural and historic landmark, a group of local movie lovers acquired the property and established the non-profit cinema and arts center so that the theater’s legacy can continue.
In addition to continuing what the Bantam Cinema was well-known for -- independent films, high-quality mainstream films, and National Theater Live -- the Bantam Cinema & Arts Center will expand its programming with a focus on creating exciting experiences that will foster a sense of community. Programming will include guest speakers, discussion panels, theme-nights, film festivals, special film series, and other special events. Bantam Cinema & Arts Center also offers live events such as music, and poetry and play readings, and intends to add comedy nights and cabarets. In addition, there will be family and school opportunities to encourage a love for film and the arts in the younger generations. We aspire to promote Connecticut food and drink and offer local products that appeal to the palettes of its patrons, supporting local businesses, such as the Litchfield Distillery and local breweries.
While our revitalization efforts will focus on an enhanced business model with amazing, new experiences for our patrons, community support is needed to sustain the legacy of the theater. Donations will safeguard our historic theater and ensure that the Bantam Cinema & Arts Center can continue to innovate and offer entertainment and inspiration to the generations to come. Please visit our donation page to see how you can help us thrive as a well-loved, community arts and culture hub.
Robert’s connection to Bantam Cinema over the past ten years looks like this-
1) Friday or Saturday night with no rehearsals, shows or work obligations?
2) Is it earlier than 7pm?
3) What’s playing at the Bantam Cinema?
A long time lover of independent, art house and foreign films, not afraid to admit his love for all things David Lynch, Robert has many fond memories of exploring small independent movie theatres in cities he’s visited, seeing films he would not have otherwise heard about (Ruby in Paradise and Come Early Morning, both starring Ashley Judd, Mike Leigh’s Life is Sweet and Gas Food Lodging for instance).
He has seen the classics of silent, experimental, foreign and art house cinema, primarily, until now, for his own education and enrichment, but has always thought running an independent movie theatre would be a terrific adventure. He used the pandemic to catch up on his film-viewing, seeing over 200 titles including works by Truffaut, Godard, Renois, Breton, Bergman, Kurosawa, and Fellini, everything Spike Lee has directed, and films from Japan, China, and Korea.
A former Arts Department Chair at Forman School and board member for the Goshen Players, Robert holds a BA in Communications, an MFA in Acting, and a Graduate Certificate in Arts Administration. He volunteered with several local arts and social service nonprofits to enhance his skillset and parlay his many years of running independent school theater programs into working with a nonprofit arts organization, and is an avid participant in and supporter of the local performing and fine arts scene.
Robert has a cousin who is an IATSE prop maker and set dresser for movies and television, another that is a First Assistant Cameraman in California, and another that is an aspiring cinematographer in France. A seasoned performing artist and director, Robert was able to check “being in a movie” off of his bucket list when he appeared as an extra in the locally-filmed Brilliant Mistakes by Paul Brighton. He next appeared for three consecutive years in the “Forman Makes a Movie” projects, spearheaded by local independent filmmaker Sean Kelly. They include The Imperfect Score, Puzzlehead, and There’s Something Wrong with Katie.
Board of Directors
Ethan J Antonucci
Judy Auchincloss began her real estate career in Litchfield County in1991. She has consistently been one of the top producing brokers in the area. By listening carefully, finding mutually agreeable solutions, and satisfying her clients' needs she has realized many successes.
When representing sellers Judy is realistic and aggressive, and for buyers she is understanding and persuasive. She uses these skills as she brokers residential and commercial deals that span the real estate spectrum from the modest to the grandiose. As one of her customer’s, former president of one of New York’s leading cultural organizations, said of her, “ for what can often be a stressful business, she is warm, relaxed, funny, and will see to it that you will be well taken care of.”
Judy has also used her considerable persuasive skills to benefit local organizations and has been part of the Washington community since 1983. As a former trustee of Rumsey Hall School where she served on the board for 18 years, she was a founder of the annual auction in 1985, which became enormously successful and has raised many millions of dollars since then. As a recent past board member for over a decade of ASAP, the After School Arts Program, her talent for fund raising events was also a success. She is also a long time member of the Washington Club.
Judy lives in New Preston with her faithful Fox Red Lab Bogey and relishes her family time and most especially her six year old grandson Dakota. While devoted and passionate about her career she still finds time for reading, movies, travel and skiing.
A lifelong resident of Connecticut, Betsy grew up with her family in Trumbull. She attended Southern Connecticut State University, attaining a BS in Accounting, From there she has had a varied career in both public and corporate accounting for the last 30 years. Her experience includes industries such as: wholesale retail foods, luxury brands, and specialty chemicals, where she spent several years traveling the globe building departments and processes. For the last year she has held the position of Corporate Controller of Shelterlogic Group, a retail goods company headquartered in Watertown.
Betsy Cowette has been a resident of Northfield, Connecticut since 2005. She and her husband Earl have two boys, Eric and Evan. As the boys were growing up Betsy spent years supporting the local Cub and Boy Scouts as either a Den leader, Pack Treasurer and Fundraising Chair, or Troop Treasurer.
When she’s not working, Betsy enjoys family trips to Disney or Cape Cod, and spending time with the family pup Remi.
Kate is a Duke trained Integrative Health Coach, who is passionate about helping people identify and make behavioral health improvements. She is currently studying with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to learn more about the intersection of Eastern and Western medicine and how functional approaches to health, wellness and eating can improve lives.
Kate also has a master’s degree in health advocacy from Sarah Lawrence College. She has worked in Harlem and Haiti championing food justice issues, and worked with Giffords, a policy, advocacy and research organization focused on the prevention of gun violence. This education sparked Kate’s interest in wellness, especially as it relates to social justice.
Previously, Kate had a 20+ year career in marketing communications where she ran the New York office of Zeno Group, and was a Managing Director, EVP at Edelman Chicago. In those roles, Kate consulted a diverse array of clients on strategic positioning, brand personality, and communications from the consumer, health, corporate and non-profit sectors. She is a proven, experienced team leader with expertise in operations, strategic counsel, integrated marketing communications, branding and media relations.
Kate holds an undergraduate degree in Economics from Barnard College, Columbia University. She is passionate about Iyengar Yoga, swimming, spinning, and travel. She lives in Washington, CT and New York City with her husband, Jeff and importantly is mother to daughter, Lily, 18 and son Oliver, 15, and their bulldogs Lady Legs Magoo and Sweet Pea the Porcine Wonder.
Jamie Marcoux (Nivolo) has lived in Litchfield County her whole life. She attended Litchfield Public Schools and graduated from UCONN with a Communications Degree in 2000. She works at Klemm Real Estate as both their office manager and as a real estate agent – she has been with the firm since 1999. She currently lives in Northfield with her husband Jason, their dog Baxter and their two cats Princess Leia & Maude. They both have a love for film and the arts and look forward to being a part of the revitalization of the historic Bantam Cinema.