Juliet Goodfriend

Bryn Mawr

Juliet Goodfriend took a leap of faith in selling her successful medical marketing research company and dedicating herself to creating an arts organization out of whole cloth. With experience gained from 40 years of entrepreneurship, as well as participation on countless nonprofit boards, she set out to save the historic Bryn Mawr Theater from becoming a health club. She reconstituted it into an art house, presenting both first-run and repertory cinema, while simultaneously offering a full curriculum of film-appreciation courses.

Returning to her alma mater, Bryn Mawr College, to learn more about the art of film, and traversing the country to be exposed to the peculiarities of the industry itself, Juliet began to bring together representatives of key community segments to assist and advise her on this enormously ambitious task. In 2005, the doors were opened, and Bryn Mawr Film Institute was underway as a two-screen theater, replete with all the challenges of a newly founded organization. Juliet secured talented architects and builders to work on repairing and upgrading the facility. With additional funding acquired over several years, BMFI recently celebrated its 10th anniversary as a film center and its second year as a four-screen showplace utilizing state-of-the-art technology.

- Advertisement -

No one at BMFI ever expected the overwhelming response from the local community. Current membership has grown to more than 8,600, and its has nine institutional community partners and over 13,000 individual donors. The educational programs alone have featured 205 unique film-appreciation and production courses, reaching 11,000 adults and children. With a most talented and knowledgeable staff, Juliet has been able to bring to the Main Line many outstanding and award-winning films, filmmakers and other guest speakers, as well as stage-on-screen events like National Theatre Live and the Bolshoi Ballet. 

As president and executive director of one of the nation’s most successful art houses, Juliet is quick to point out that theaters keep less than half of their actual box-office revenue, with the distributors keeping the rest. Additional financial contributions from enthusiastic individuals and foundations, plus sponsorships from the business community, provide almost 20 percent of our annual income and are indeed essential to BMFI’s fiscal health.

Unknown to many is the fact that BMFI also partners with more than 120 other nonprofit organizations each year and has donated $135,000 in goods and services to those groups over the past 10 years. This community-centric activity has become much larger than Juliet or the board ever imagined, and it has further endeared the organization to a wide variety of Main Line residents.

With incredible vision and undying perseverance, Juliet has successfully established BMFI’s mission statement of  “community through film culture.”

—Samuel R. Scott, board chairman,
Bryn Mawr Film Institute

Photo by Jim Graham

Our Best of the Main Line Elimination Ballot is open through February 22!