The motion picture medium has played an important and continuing role at the Detroit Institute of Arts since 1928. Now in its 30th year, the DIA's ongoing program, Detroit Film Theatre, is among the most comprehensive and acclaimed showcases of contemporary and classic world cinema in the United States. Through the formation of Friends of Detroit Film Theatre (FDFT), formerly the Cinematic Arts Council, DIA members can now take part in supporting this proud tradition.

An auxiliary of the Detroit Institute of Arts, the FDFT is dedicated to cultivating awareness, appreciation, understanding and knowledge of the cinematic medium and its history. Through FDFT activities, council members help to support the Detroit Film Theatre series, the DIA's collection of film, video and related materials, and the preservation of the Detroit Institute of Arts Auditorium.

Annual membership dues are listed below. In order to be eligible for membership in the Friends of the Detroit Film Theatre, you must be a member of The Detroit Institute of Arts.

Membership Levels

Membership Level Annual Dues
Supporting $50
Sustaining $100
Patron $250
Donor $500
Benefactor $1,000

Join/Renew Membership

In order to be eligible for membership in FDFT, you must be a member of The Detroit Institute of Arts.


Matthew Mergener: President

Karen McDevitt: Vice-President 

Matthew Bucher: Vice-President

Lamont Buffington: Treasurer

Caitlin Drzewiecki: Secretary

Board Members

Christina El-Haddad

Jane Ferreyra

Nancy Greenia

Chato Hill

A. Andrea Monteil de Shuman

David Pontes

Bill Sneed

Margaret Thomas

Tim Thomas

Joseph Warnez

Advisory Committee

Connie Calhoun

Julie Corbett

Sue Marx

Dennis Moore

Kevin Payne

John Prusak

Kevin Walsh


Lawrence Baranski, Public Programming Director

Elliot Wilhelm, Curator of Film

Matthew Breneau, Public Programming Departmental Assistant

Cate Lauerman, Crystal Gallery Cafe Manager

Margaret Thomas, DFT House Manager

Frank Castronova, Annual Fund Officer


In 2006 the DFT began the renovation of our seating by combining the best of two worlds: luxurious, state-of-the-art seats fabricated with fabrics matching the 1927 upholstery, selected with durability and comfort in mind. Hundreds of DFT-goers have already chosen to support this project by purchasing a seat dedication. Great seats are still available—as a gift or as a show of support for the DFT—for tax-deductible contributions starting at $500.

For information on how you can Take Your Seats, call 313.833.4686 or email

Detroit Film Theatre volunteer ushers welcome and assist patrons in the DIA auditorium. They give directions, answer questions and seat patrons. The Detroit Film Theatre operates on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday evenings. We particularly need volunteers to fill the late shows and both shows on Saturday.


  • On the job training
  • Introduction and tour of the auditorium


  • Volunteer Orientation
  • Application
  • Interview


At least one show per month (approximately 3 hours)


Contact our Volunteer Council at or call 313.494.5221