Rheem Inspires Change

Hannah Tennant

The California Independent Film Festival, or CAIFF, took over management of the Rheem Theatre on June 25. What was once known as the Rheem Theatre has now become the New Rheem Theatre, and is entering a transformation period.

In the past four months, they have instituted many changes to the once-neglected theatre.

Beau Behan, the general manager for Rheem, as well as the program director for CAIFF, aims at creating a “community gathering place” for all of Lamorinda. “One of our main focuses as the New Rheem Theatre is to be able to give back to the community,” Behan said.

So far, the theatre has been able to do just that. Minor renovations have been made, and they plan to make many more. The main lobby has been repainted and all the seats are going to be replaced. The theatre has taken out rows of seats and put in couches with end tables and beanbag chairs. They are in the process of getting the proper licenses to be able to serve hot food and beverages, such as gourmet coffee drinks and wine, during movies.

“We want to make sure that going to the movies is an exciting experience,” said Behan.

The theatre has also begun holding dances for teens age 15-19. The third dance, The Monster Mash will take place on Oct. 15. Tickets are $20 per person, and are going fast. Within the first four days of ticket sales they sold 350 out of 500 allotted tickets. DJ Voni and DJ Crank will be DJing the event. These dances have been publicized through Facebook, and have been attracting teens from San Francisco to Livermore.

As part of their mission to give back to the community, every attendee is required to bring one can of food to be donated to the Contra Costa Food Bank. The theatre hires police officers from the Moraga Police Department as supervision all night, and everyone is put through a metal detector and checked for illegal substances.

“We want parents to feel like they have placed their kids in a safe haven,” said Behan. “And we want teens to feel like they can come here for fun.”

The new affiliation with the CIAFF will mean more independent film festivals and events sponsored by the CIAFF. The theatre is trying to attract blockbuster movie-goers as well as independent film lovers.

With this new management, the theatre aims at creating a local destination for movie-goers, so that the trek to Walnut Creek doesn’t become routine.