Film, Food, and Fun on the River. 

See you at the Rio!

The Rio is an historic quonset hut movie theater on the Russian River, including a cafe with great food and beer, and a sunny outdoor market on weekends.

The mission of the Rio Theater & Cafe is to engage the community in creating an inclusive and fun venue that serves as a relaxing gathering place for both locals and visitors.

About the Rio team

We are a group of friends who live in San Francisco, Oakland, and the Russian River area. Many of us have been friends since college, and have always had a dream of running a movie theater someday. After getting involved in the #SaveTheRio Kickstarter campaign, we came together formally to buy the theater, and we're so excited to be joining the Rio community. 

Top (left to right): Lauren Smith, Derek Fagerstrom, Maura Dilley, Tim Nichols, Sarah Stamatiou, Dan Finnerty, Suzi (previous owner), Inder Comar, Christie George, Akasemi Newsome, Curtis Seymour. Bottom: Dermot Hikisch, Eli Horowitz, Colin Mutchler

Top (left to right): Lauren Smith, Derek Fagerstrom, Maura Dilley, Tim Nichols, Sarah Stamatiou, Dan Finnerty, Suzi (previous owner), Inder Comar, Christie George, Akasemi Newsome, Curtis Seymour. Bottom: Dermot Hikisch, Eli Horowitz, Colin Mutchler

Rio Theater & Cafe Logo


The Rio team also wants to thank Walter Green for designing the Rio logo and identity. He is a friend of the Rio and the art director and designer at Lucky Peach magazine. Thanks Walter! 

Contact the Rio

For directions and other information, drop by the "Visit" page. To contact the Rio team, please use the contact form and include some background about what you're looking for or email us directly at

History of the Rio

The Rio Theater has a long history in the town of Monte Rio. For the last 20 years, Don & Suzi Schaffert have made the Rio an iconic destination for the entire community, and we are proud to build on their legacy.


#SaveTheRio Kickstarter Campaign

In early 2013, large film studios announced that very soon, first-run movies would no longer be distributed on 35mm film. To remain in operation, the Rio, along with theaters across the country, had to convert to digital projection at a substantial cost. So members of local West Sonoma County communities launched a Kickstarter campaign and showed up in troves to support the theater when it was in danger of closing.

You can see press, videos and more details about the campaign on the full #SaveTheRio page. The funds were used to convert the theater to new digital projector system in mid 2013, and some remaining funds will be used towards projects that make the theater warmer in the winter. =) 

Thanks to our nearly 500 Kickstarter Backers!

Below are the many supporters that include neighbors and strangers from near and far. The theater could not have survived with their support. Thank you! Also, rewards from the campaign will continue to be honored by the theater. See you at the Rio!

Dorothy Secrest
Jesse Stearn
Betsy Templeton
Zach Braff
Erik "Hunter" Olson
Russian River Getaways
Lucia Kasulis
Linda M. Grassi
Scott Hirsch
Mike Higgins
Barbara Gegan
River Plumbing
Jim Stallman
Laura Richardsn
Catherine Sarlatte
Julie Simpson
Christopher C Johnson
Shoshana Levy
Russell Quinn
Luke Napper
Dana Kelly Orellana
John De Salvio
Marcello and Joan Barbero
Denny Hamann
Genny Engel
Barbara Emerson
sin soracco
Kenena M Klosson
Paul Schmidt
Steve Wallace
Arrow Olesky
Karen Ryer
Hannah Stone

Mark Russell
Michael & Lotte Murphy
Hans Bruhner
Marcia Munson
James Huntington
Tony Lopez
Redge Martin
Ed & Connie Murphy
Deanna Gumina
Kristin Thurman-Fein
stacy jardine
David Dent
Christie George
Allan Timpe
Dennis Dong
Lisa Yuhasz
George Zastrow
Karen Tischer
Ursula Nibblett
Lorna J. King
Lynn Kasuba
Megan Perkins
Beverly Coughlin
Michael Cochran
Bill & Sheryl Haufler
Christian Christmas
Michele Tobey
Mark Scott Johnson
Tom Trent
Niki Castello
Rachelle Alexander
Randall Barron
Bill Young
Annette Sarlatte
Darcie McN


Archbishop Mark Shirilau
Tom Young
Diane Gleeson
Matthew Derby
Elaine Ercolini
Jan & Peter Perlman
Gina Morris
Lila Brown
Cheryl Pia
Eileen P Driscoll
Kathy Stenger
laurel pallock
Damon Chesse
Ann Garland
Michelle Famula
Jennifer Castello
Max Caruso
Rhian Miller
Bohan & Canelis General Eng.
Theis Finlev
Paul Haxo
Jane McDonough
May Olsson
jerry delia
Trudy Drypolcher
Gary Beuschel
Karen D. Theobald
B. Misner (Rio Nido Homeowners Asso)
Glennis R Nelson
Jessica Voytek
Dave and Kathy Kerrigan-Paulson

Julie Traun
Ken Mannshardt
James Porter
Michael & Penny Bolger
Suzanne G. Seton
Kate Black
Jennell Parr
Dee Dee Rydberg
Suzan Thrasher
Deirdre Golani
Russ Sharkey
Mike & Faye Poveda
Robert Collins
Gary & Marian Grabbe
Dolores Robinson
Mitchell Gordon
Michael C Nicholls
Sandra and Peter Nesteroke
Russ & Mary Ann Petroff
Karen Engel
Jim Leddy
Teri Foster
Ann Blacker
Eugene Eric Kim
Mary Baker
Ivan Clinton
Carol Adair
Barbara Bickford
Cori and Guy Gullion
James Barrese
Grandma's House
Meadowview Cottages
Tad Schock