A Hollywood director is throwing his weight behind an effort to save an iconic East Vancouver theatre.
Kevin Smith, known for the 1994 indie film “Clerks”, tweeted his support for the Rio Theatre, which is under threat of development.
Smith, who studied at the Vancouver Film School, is in town to direct a TV series and has offered to hold a benefit to raise money for the Rio, located on Broadway and Commercial Drive.
“It’s an amazing space,” Smith said. “It has a lot of great memories for not just me, but a lot of people that live here in Vancouver.”
Smith says it’s important to preserve single-screen theatres like the Rio, particularly those that support independent film.
“It’s a shame that some of the art houses have gone the way of the dinosaur,” he said. “This is one that’s still around and still functioning. If we can do anything to bring attention and keep those doors open, that would be a positive thing.”
Smith said his fondest memory of the Rio was recording an episode of his podcast there in front of a live audience. He said he is willing to perform there again to raise money and awareness.
He added that he’ll do whatever else he can to save the venerable East Van theatre, even if it means “trying to literally hold the doors open with my body, my large body.”
“If that’s how I keep the Rio open, by keeping my body in the doorway, I’ll do it.”
— with files from Estefania Duran and Kyle Benning