Vancity Theatre FAQs

Tickets | Vancity Theatre Venue | Membership and Liquor Licence | Programming | Get Involved | Other FAQs


Ticket FAQs

1. Can I buy tickets in advance?

Yes, tickets can be purchased in advance on-line at viff.org. Please note that advance sales cut off one hour before showtime.

2. When can I buy tickets at the door?

Thirty minutes before showtime.

3. Do you have student and senior rates?

Yes, we offer post secondary students and seniors (65+) $2 off ticket prices ($9 instead of $11). This discount is available on-line and in person. Proof of age or student ID required.


Vancity Theatre Venue FAQs

1. Where can I find parking?

Metered street parking is available outside the film centre that can be paid by cash or by credit card by visiting the City of Vancouver website. For a current inventory of paid parking lots the following links may be helpful:

2. Are you air-conditioned?

Yes. It's a modern, well-equipped and very comfortable theatre with lots of fresh air.

3. Are you wheelchair accessible?

Yes. There's room for several wheelchairs, easy access from our loading zone on Seymour Street, and a handicapped/ family washroom on ground level.

4. What's the purpose of this place?

Reason #1: to show good films! We're here not to duplicate commercial movie theatres showing Hollywood studio movies, but to emphasize international, Canadian, independent, documentary, and art cinema. These are significant and important categories that might otherwise not find their deserved place on the big screen. We're here to provide the public and film community with an excellent facility for the appreciation of quality cinema and related art forms throughout the year. This is an extension of our general mandate to encourage understanding of the world's cultures through the art of cinema and to foster the art of cinema. Please see more about our mandate and history.

5. What are the advantages of a film society?

Most of the films we show would be cost prohibitive for commercial theatres to present. It costs a lot to import films from abroad, and many of the best films draw smaller audiences (that's also true in the case of a lot of literature, music, etc.). Our mandate is for quality and diversity, and we are complimentary opposite to the big-budget Hollywood fare on screen most everywhere else. To help cover these noble aims (extra costs and smaller returns!), the government allows us important benefits and privileges. We get a break on paying customs fees and film classification services. Even more importantly to our viability, as a film society we are allowed to apply for government grants and garner the support of individual and business sponsors. Without the advantages of us being a film society Vancouverites would not be able to see much of the world's best cinematic art properly projected, if at all.

6. Who owns this building?

We lease this space from the City of Vancouver. We are here thanks to the City's progressive amenity-for-density bonus program. In 1999 we applied to the City of Vancouver along with the developer Amacon/Onni. The deal was that our neighbouring Brava Tower 2 could be built if the developer provided a Film Centre to the people of Vancouver that VIFF would operate. Our 20 year sublease with the City began in August 2005 when construction was completed and we first moved in. Hopefully people will still want to see Canadian and international cinema on the big screen well past 2025 and we will be able to continue!

7. How long have you been around?

The Vancity Theatre started its regular film programming in January 2006, and VIFF was founded in 1982. Over these years our organization has presented over 11,000 screenings of some 8000 different films to an audience of 3.2 million!


Membership and Liquor Licence FAQs

1. When are beer and wine served?

We are pleased to offer wine and beer sales at most of our screenings and events. The exception is for films we advertise as rated G, PG or 14A by Consumer Protection BC. Per the rules and regulations of our Liquor License as set out by the Liquor Distribution Board of British Columbia, liquor may only be consumed only in approved areas of our building. As of August 2014, liquor is permitted in the theatre for all screenings except those that are open to minors.

2. Why do I have to be a VIFC member to see films at the Vancity Theatre year-round?

Similar to the Vancouver International Film Festival, most of the films we screen are unclassified (not rated) and, under B.C. law (Motion Picture Act), in order to see unclassified films you must be a registered member of a film society. Also, Vancity Theatre is a licensed premise. Filmgoers can enjoy a glass of beer or wine while attending our screenings. Our license allows us to serve alcohol to Vancity Theatre members over 19 years of age only. By joining the society, you are entitled to attend the next Annual General Meeting. Learn more

3. Why do I have to be a VIFF member?

This is because you are attending a film specially presented by an official non-profit organization—a 'film society'—here in BC. Under provincial law, we can only present films to members. This comes with many advantages and one nominal annual cost of $2. This is partly because we are allowed to screen films that have not been seen by Consumer Protection BC. Although we can occasionally make exceptions by having films classified, normally to see films presented by VIFF, you must be age 18 or older, and a member. Learn more

4. Why are some of your films rated and not others?

Unlike commercial movie theatres, we are able to screen films not rated or classified by Consumer Protection BC, (which represents a cost saving for everyone, taxpayer included). However, in cases where we want to be able to include younger audiences, we do ask for Consumer Protection BC to provide a rating on our behalf to ensure the films content is suitable.

5. Why can't I bring my kids?

Sometimes you can, but generally we do not screen films that have been rated by Consumer Protection BC and so they cannot be viewed by anyone under 18. Please see #4 above, and check our website, printed guide or info line for rating details.

6. What does Membership Plus+ mean?

Membership Plus+ is a way to enhance your film experience and support VIFF and the Vancity Theatre. Learn more

7. When is your AGM?

Our Annual General Meeting is normally held on the third Tuesday of April, in the Vancouver International Film Centre. All members are encouraged to attend. Beyond the election of Board of Directors, it's a chance to learn about plans for the future and the issues we face. This year’s AGM is scheduled for Thursday May 29th, at 7:30pm.


Programming FAQs

1. How can I recommend that you show a particular film?

We're keen to hear your recommendations. You may contact us by e-mailing viff@viff.org, call us 604-685-0260, send us a letter, or leave a note in the suggestion box in the lobby.

2. Do you show 35mm film or digital films?

We regularly show both. We have the best 35mm projectors ever made (German 'Kinoton' machines that are very kind to prints), and we have a wide array of digital players and high-end Christie projectors.

3. I'm looking for info on a film that screened about twenty years ago … Can you help?

We are looking at developing a VIFF historical archive website that would include all films ever screened at VIFF or Vancity Theatre. Until then, please email a request for information to viff@viff.org. Please be as explicit as possible about the film title, the festival date (if you have it) and specifically what kind of information you are seeking.

4. Is there some way that the Film Centre could help bring people together and create some of the social excitement of the Festival year-round?

We certainly hope so. That's the aspiration of Vancity Theatre initiatives such as 'VIFF Social Club' and 'Cinema Salon': creating community and providing extra value; making filmgoing an event. At these regularly scheduled screenings we encourage people to join in discussion with special guests, and gather together after the screening in our atrium.

5. Wouldn't it make sense to show more audience-friendly films if you want more customers?

We certainly prefer that audiences turn out for screenings, absolutely, and we do take that into account in programming. Nonetheless, our mandate is to expand on what is in the commercial theatres. That doesn't mean that we don't often show broadly accessible films; we often do. It just means that we shouldn't be solely focused on the bottom line. Our job is to live up to our mandate, to represent other voices and visions (including our own) and to stand up for art, for risk, for quality, for challenge. [By the way, we have a high degree of respect for our successful commercial counterparts. There's a lot of risk taking involved in any popular art form.]

6. Does Vancity Theatre publish a calendar of its upcoming program and where I can pick one up?

The Vancity Theatre produces a monthly calendar of events. You can pick one up in our theatre lobby and at select locations around town. You can also download our monthly calendar.


How Do I Get Involved?

1. When can I sign up to volunteer for VIFF or the Vancity Theatre?

A volunteer application form for Film Festival positions is posted on our website in July. Please check the "Get Involved" tab on our Film Festival page for further information.

2. Are you hiring?

There is a small nucleus of staff positions that are year-round, but VIFF starts to 'staff up' for the festival in the summer. If you are interested in employment at VIFF you can send in your resume at any time. When employment opportunities become available we review all resumes we have on file and also sometimes post the position on our website or the Alliance for the Arts website.

3. Do you employ interns?

Yes, please check the "Get Involved" section of our web site for details.

4. I'd like to support this organization. What's the best way?

There are many ways to support VIFF, depending on your interests. For specific information, please see the "Get Involved" section of viff.org, or send an email to shelley@viff.org. Alternatively, donations may be made online at viff.org ("Make a Donation Now!") or mail/drop off a cheque to VIFF, 1181 Seymour Street, Vancouver, BC, V6B 3M7.

5. How do I purchase one of those plaques on the back of the theatre seats?

The seat campaign in support of VIFF's Vancity Theatre and the Vancouver International Film Centre is a very important way of supporting VIFF! Plaques are available for a tax-receiptable donation of $1,000 per seat, or 2 seats for $1,500. You also get to choose your favourite seat, where your plaque will be displayed for five years.


Genre-Defying FAQs!

1. Is the Vancity Theatre available for rent?

Yes! The Vancity Theatre offers state-of-the-art technology, facilities, and services to a host of private and not-for-profit clients for a broad range of event types from screenings and presentations to meetings and receptions. Please contact rentals@viff.org for more information and pricing.

2. What do arts funding cuts mean for this organization? Is the film festival in jeopardy?

We are only here thanks to the contribution of many. In the face of difficult economic times, we've made significant efforts to control costs and operate within constricted means, which makes us all the more grateful for how fortunate we have been in maintaining strong levels of support from private citizens, volunteers, all three levels of government, and business supporters and sponsors of all sizes. We are hopeful that as the appreciation of the importance of cinema as a public art form grows, so will the critical support of these stakeholders communities, enabling VIFF to continue to further our mandate and invest in our future.

3. Do you sell the posters?

We do organize a poster sale every two or three years, usually at a nominal cost of $10 each, containing gems from VIFF and Vancity Theatre screenings. Check our website for advance notice of this event.

4. What's the connection between the Vancouver International Film Festival and the Vancity Theatre?

The Vancouver International Film Festival is the parent organization. We are a nonprofit charitable film society that operates VIFF, all aspects of the Vancouver International Film Centre including the Vancity Theatre, and our annual Film and Television Forum.

5. What's the connection between the Pacific Cinémathèque and the Vancity Theatre?

We are friendly neighbours and colleagues. As Vancouver film societies of long-standing, our mandates are complimentary and we look for opportunities to work together.

6. What's the connection between Vancity Credit Union and the Vancity Theatre?

Vancity Credit Union provided a very significant sponsorship contribution to our existence, enabling us to purchase state-of-the-art equipment among other things. In return, our theatre is named after them, which is consistent with many buildings and institutions offering naming rights to corporate sponsors and donors.