The film program now known as Lightbox Film Center
has a rich history. As we transition to a new era with our new name, we also
felt it was a fitting moment to look back. A new exhibition on view in the
gallery, curated by Jedidah Flores and Robert Cargni, culls programs,
calendars, photographs and other materials to explore that important cultural
legacy. Beginning with the history and development of the film program, the
exhibition proceeds through a thematic exploration of curation including Social
Mission, World View, and “If I Were Real” Real to Reel—focusing on
representation of women and children in cinema.
The Neighborhood Film Project started in the heated
social climate of the Vietnam War era as a means to challenge passive media consumption.
The project, a one-woman effort realized by Linda Blackaby, was the first of
its kind in Philadelphia. Truly rebellious in nature, recognizing film as a
means for education and refusing to attach itself to any institution claiming
otherwise, The Neighborhood Film Project found itself a home in collaboration
with the University of Pennsylvania Christian Association. Together with their
official status as a 501(c)(3) non-profit, the entity produced film series such
as The Reel to Real and the International Cinema project. When the two split,
Blackaby rebranded as The Neighborhood Film/Video Project and found a new home
in the freshly constructed International House. Inspired by Quaker ideals, the
original vision of International House, and the education-heavy atmosphere of University
City, the Film/Video Project grew into the International House programs office,
presenting films and other public programs for decades.
With our new name, Lightbox Film Center continues its mission as an independent program offering themes and perspectives otherwise neglected by commercial cinemas. As such, we hope to remain true to our roots and stay loud.