Our Mission

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.


Click Here to Watch Our Sizzle Reel and Learn About Our Story

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.


Executive Director

Robert Kwalick

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

Ethan J. Antonucci was born in Torrington, Connecticut, six weeks after the release of the original Star Wars movie and raised across the street from the world-famous Bantam Cinema.
Ethan is currently the Executive Vice President of BLB, Inc., David Benioff & Dan Weiss’ production company, with an overall deal at Netflix. He started working with the creators of Game of Thrones on the fifth season. He spent several years in the writers’ room and is a credited writer on season eight.
He moved to Los Angeles in 1999 to work in the entertainment industry and now has two decades of Hollywood experience under his belt. Starting in The Gersh Agency mailroom he learned the business and became one of the youngest literary agents to ever work at the company.
After the birth of his son, Ethan switched gears and went to work for one of the largest entertainment law firms in the business. He parlayed these experiences into his job working with Benioff & Weiss.
All of his education was completed in the Nutmeg State and includes a double degree in Journalism and Communications from the University of Connecticut. His 1999 senior year was highlighted by his Sports Editorship at the UConn Daily Campus, which enabled him to bounce around the country and cover the school’s first men’s basketball NCAA Championship. You don’t even have to ask; Ethan will tell you all about it within minutes of meeting him.
Ethan lives with his wife Aimee and son Cortland in West Hollywood, California. 
Headshot Photo Credit: Joel Berti


Judy Auchincloss


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.

Betsy Cowette



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.

Lori Fineman

Lori Fineman is an independent theatrical producer with numerous projects in development for regional theaters and Broadway. From 2007-2019, Lori was the Executive Director of Transport Group, a non-profit off-Broadway theater company in New York City. During her tenure she was the producer and general manager of more than 50 productions, labs, workshops and events.
Prior to Transport Group, Lori worked in management consulting for Andersen Consulting and Capco. She serves on the board of directors for Transport Group, the National Alliance of Musical Theatre (NAMT), and on the advisory board to the Jewish Community Project (JCP) Downtown. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Lori holds a BA in Theatre Arts and a BSE in Management from the Wharton School.
Lori is married to Steve and mom to Dylan, Spencer, Nathan and a Barbet puppy, Claude. They live in Manhattan and in Washington, Connecticut.

Cleve Fuessenich

Litchfield’s extraordinary features and character are not duplicated anywhere else in the world. Cleve, a native, only developed a deep appreciation of them, however, after spending many years in other places (boarding school: Avon Old Farms; college: Williams; travel: Europe; and business: 15 years in Asia). After returning home in mid-life, he has spent more than 40 years in real estate and volunteered for several dozen positions in professional, non-profit, and government organizations.
Involvement in Bantam Cinema’s rejuvenation brings Cleve full circle. Seeing films there as a child had a major influence on his life and more than 70 years of wonderful experiences at the theater inspired him to help make the same opportunities available to all those who might get as much reward from one of Litchfield’s irreplaceable treasures as he has.

Mark Halloran

Mark Halloran was born and raised on Bantam Lake in Morris, Connecticut and has been a lifelong patron of the Bantam Cinema. After a brief period living in Torrington and Litchfield, Mark and his wife Charlene returned to Morris to raise their two children, Kyle and Katie; and now… 30 years later, they are looking forward to introducing their four grandchildren to the Bantam Cinema as well.
As Managing Director and Head of Business Development of Individual Markets at Transamerica, Mark leads the group that is responsible for Transamerica’s retail and institutional distribution relationships for Annuity and Asset Management product lines. Mark also has charge of the Industry and Regulatory Strategy team which is responsible for development and execution of Transamerica’s strategies in response to business environment and regulatory changes. In this role, Mark balances managing business development activities with developing strategic marketing plans, traveling the country to meet with key distribution cohorts, speaking on current industry topics and working within the public sector space to influence public policy and regulatory matters related to the insurance and asset management industries.
Mark currently serves as Chairman of the Morris Housing Authority, sits on the Finance Council of the St. Louis de Montfort Parish as well as the advisory council of the Susan B. Anthony Foundation.

Kate Karet

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

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.

Kenneth Merz

Ken Merz is Secretary and Treasurer of O & G Industries and the co-founder of KidsPlay Museum in Torrington, CT. He is President/CEO of the Museum’s Board and provides fiscal oversight, facilities planning, and exhibit design. He served on the Warner Theatre Board as Treasurer, Vice President, and President. He co-chaired two capital campaigns and served on the property and finance committees during the restoration of the historic theatre. 

Jodi Tenney 

Jodi has lived in Litchfield for nearly 20 years and loves independent films and the arts. After living overseas in China, Japan, and France, she views film and other arts as a window to the world. She and her husband, John, have enjoyed many cozy nights at the cinema especially during the New England fall and winters. Jodi is passionate about revitalizing the cinema and continuing its long history so it can be enjoyed by her two sons, Devlin and Ronan, and many generations to come. Jodi brings to the cinema her experience in organizational leadership and educational programming and her passion for serving the local community.
Jodi was the Director of Curriculum and Instruction for the Plymouth Public Schools and is currently the World Language Coordinator for the Region 10 Schools. She holds a B.A. from Boston College, an M.S. from SUNY Albany, and an Ed.D. from Southern Connecticut State University. She is currently on the Litchfield Board of Selectman and previously served one year on the Litchfield Board of Finance. One of Jodi’s fondest memories is watching the Green Book with her 100-year-old grandmother at a small art house cinema after driving through the vineyards of Napa Valley.
With the reopening of the cinema, she hopes others will drive through the bucolic hills of Litchfield County to see a heartwarming film at the cinema with loved ones and create beautiful memories, like her own, that will stay in their hearts forever.
See here.

To Donate

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Find us at 115 Bantam Lake Rd., Bantam, CT 06750
Email executivedirector@bantamcinema.org
Facebook facebook.com/bantamcinema
Twitter twitter.com/BantamCinema
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Bantam Cinema & Arts Center, Inc. is a tax-exempt organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.