THE CHRISTOPHER B. SMITH RAFAEL FILM CENTER may well be the most elegant and comfortable place on the planet to enjoy great films and see some of the world’s leading filmmakers.

The Rafael is owned and operated by the California Film Institute, the non-profit arts organization that also produces the annual Mill Valley Film Festival and ongoing CFI Education programs. It houses three state-of-the-art auditoriums, offers a lively and diverse schedule of first-run engagements, including independent, foreign-language and documentary films, and welcomes frequent presentations by artists and experts in the field.


“The Rafael has been beautifully restored and has now become a magic house for cinema.”

“There is such a refreshing sense of community and intimacy that is so hard to find these days within the world of cinema…I look forward to my next experience.”

“I was so honored by your and your audience’s inspiring company and enthusiasm…This event was the highlight of this year and it gave me so much strength to continue the work on my next film.”

“It’s a great theater! And the audience was terrific—no doubt because of the theater!”

“I will remember this amazing and warm welcome in the Rafael that these beautiful movie goers gave.”

“The Rafael is one of the most beautiful cinemas I have been in. A true ‘cathedral of images’ as Fellini would say.”

“The Rafael has been a lovely venue for my presentations about visual effects and stop-motion animation.”

“[The Rafael] was where I saw my first motion picture…Thank you for nurturing the memory and the future.”

“You have created a space that will certainly endure for years to come- Enjoy the process and continue this wondrous journey of quality.”

“The Rafael’s audiences are perhaps the most responsive cinema-goers in the world”

“What a beautiful theater—such an incredible restoration.”

“What a fitting end to my tour celebrating Michael Powell’s centenary- to be in the beautiful Rafael amongst those who love Michael’s work and who in turn showed me such warm affection.”

“We always bring our films here because the venue and the audiences are the best.”

“This is a great theater, great facility and great projection.”

“We wish all theaters were this beautiful with such receptive audiences.”

“I wish this theater were in my neck of the woods.”

“I love your movie theater.”