Some distributors are finding ways to support cinema workers, virtually. Kino Lorber and Oscilloscope Laboratories have unveiled new platforms for movie viewing that give back to film communities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last week, Kino Lorber announced Kino Marquee, which will create virtual screening rooms with participating theaters across the country, so viewers at home can watch Kino Lorber and Zeitgeist titles that were scheduled to be exhibited at local cinemas, but got canceled due to coronavirus.
The first film available will be Bacurau from directors Juliano Dornelles and Kleber Mendonça Filho. Participating theaters include: New York’s Film at Lincoln Center, Austin Film Society, The Frida Cinema in Santa Ana, California and the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio, among others.
“When theaters started to close, we at Kino Lorber turned our thoughts to how we could collaborate with our independent theater partners across the country. We cannot release the kinds of films we do without their support,” said Wendy Lidell, SVP of Theatrical Distribution at Kino Lorber, in a statement.
Lidell added, “Of course we wanted to find a way to keep our current film release in front of audiences, but to do so in a way that would also benefit our exhibition partners. We want to help ensure that these theaters will be able to reopen their doors after this crisis passes. The Kino Marquee program offers an opportunity for theaters to generate revenue while their doors are closed.”
Kino Lorber aims to make the virtual experience as close to the in-person viewing experience as possible. To enter a virtual screening room, viewers must buy tickets from the participating theaters, rather than from the Kino Lorber site, and screening rooms will be headed up by the theater’s designated marquee. Films will be booked from Fridays to Thursdays, although there is no word yet as to which film will follow Bacurau.
Oscilloscope Laboratories will be showcasing two initiatives to promote film viewing during these difficult times. As of Wednesday, March 25, Oscilloscope has partnered with MailChimp to make the majority of the SXSW shorts program available online for free, including No Crying at the Dinner Table from Carol Nguyen, which won the festival’s top prize for documentary short. A total of 75 titles are available, according to IndieWire.
In addition, the distributor has announced an ominously titled initiative called the Circle of Quarantine, which allows movie lovers to purchase 10 films from its collection for $49.99. Oscilloscope will donate $10 from each package purchase to the Cinema Worker Solidarity Fund.
As per Variety, Oscilloscope said, “O-Scope looks to innovate in ways to reach audiences safely in their homes,” adding, “the Circle of Quarantine is an attempt to bridge the social distance.”