He’s a Hollywood director, a Vancouver Film School alumni and now, Kevin Smith is throwing his support behind the effort to save an iconic East Vancouver movie theatre The Rio.
In a tweet, Smith, who many know from Clerks, Mallrats and Jay and Silent Bob, director said he’s “long loved” The Rio and [would be] “happy to do a benefit screening.”
VFS alum and Vancouver lover here, ready to assist! I’ve long loved the @RioTheatre and would be honored and happy to do a benefit screening/Q&A to raise loot & awareness for the @RioTheatre! Would a Family Day event be too soon? https://t.co/jvJrPd8twk
— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) February 2, 2018
Smith’s tweet is the latest voice in a long line of supporters who have been vocal about their support for the venue after the owners put it up for sale and word got out that it could potentially be redeveloped.
Earlier this month, the theatre’s operators launched a petition to try and drum up enough support to buy the building and save it from potential redevelopment.
In the petition, the theatre’s primary operator, Corinne Lea, says the venue’s operators are preparing an offer to buy the building.
“We need your help fast,” the petition states. “We need to collect as many signatures as possible to demonstrate the community’s support in saving the existing, historical, art-deco venue that we know and love.”
While the City of Vancouver “has made provisions that a developer would have to include a ‘movie theatre’ in a new building, this does not ensure the same size, or that it would have live performance space,” the petition reads.
And although the theatre’s operators currently have an eight-year lease on the the building, “there would likely be pressure from a new developer to shorten this term.”
According to a recent CBRE listing, the 50-ft-wide, 6,350-sq-ft site has “strong assembly potential” for “high density residential” and could potentially accommodate a building up to 10 storeys in height, based on the municipal government’s 2016-approved Grandview-Woodland Community Plan.