Local art house theaters need your support during the coronavirus pandemic just as much as the major theater chains, and now there are several “virtual cinema” options for film lovers to support those movie theaters from the comfort of your own homes.
A number of indie distributors and art house theater chains have launched virtual cinema streaming platforms that are designed to give art house fans access to new titles they can no longer see in theaters, but they’ve done so with the support of the individual theaters that would’ve otherwise screened those films.
VOD streaming rentals for a new title can be made directly through a specific theater in your local community, such as Film at Lincoln Center in New York or the Music Box in Chicago. So far, Kino Lorber, Film Movement, Magnolia and Alamo Drafthouse all have their own similar offerings.
Here’s a quick rundown of all the available options and films that are currently streaming if you’re looking to scratch that art house movie itch during your stay-at-home binges. And just as though they were playing actual theatrical runs, all of the films mentioned below are screening online for a limited time.
When Kino Lorber announced its Kino Marquee program to screen the Brazilian thriller “Bacurau,” just over a dozen of the 60 theaters nationwide that were meant to have screened the film had signed on to the new service. Now Kino Marquee boasts 150 virtual screens for “Bacurau,” and you can find a full list of theaters you can support with a rental of the film here.
Future films as part of Kino Lorber’s and Zeitgeist Films’ slate will be available through this virtual distribution service in the coming weeks. And you can also currently screen Ken Loach’s drama “Sorry We Missed You” via Film Forum in New York, which had its theatrical run cut short because of the coronavirus.
“Bacurau” is directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles and stars Sônia Braga and Udo Kier. The film won the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes in 2019 and went on to play the Toronto and New York Film Festivals.
Film Movement’s virtual cinema is offering the chance to rent Jan Komasa’s Oscar-nominated Polish drama “Corpus Christi,” the Chinese noir “The Wild Goose Lake” and Bertrand Bonello’s fantasy “Zombi Child.”
Film Movement also has a handful of repertory titles that are available for virtual streaming, including the comedy “Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands” from 1976 starring Sônia Braga and Luchino Visconti’s 1976 romance “L’Innocente.”
Magnolia is offering Corneliu Porumboiu’s Romanian neo-noir “The Whistlers” and the documentary about Robbie Robertson and The Band “Once Were Brothers” as part of its virtual cinema program, which was designed to support the theaters that have loyally screened Magnolia movies for the past 20 years.
For Magnolia, 100% of the proceeds from ticket sales will go back to the theaters until the films launch on VOD platforms on April 3. From April 3rd on, the films will continue to be available on their respective homepage with a portion of each rental going back to participating theaters throughout the films’ virtual run.
You can find links to a full list of theaters screening both “The Whistlers” and “Once Were Brothers” here.
Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas are one of the participating theater chains working with all of the indie distributors listed above, and you can directly support Drafthouses across the country by renting titles here such as “Balloon,” “The Perfect Nanny” and coming soon “Extra Ordinary” starring Will Forte.
But the theater chain is also virtually continuing its own curated film series, including Terror Tuesday and Weird Wednesday. The online screenings will also feature pre-show content, introductions and discussions conducted by the film website BirthMoviesDeath.com.
This coming Tuesday, Mar. 31 beginning at 8 p.m. ET is “Centipede Horror,” the 1982 Hong Kong horror classic by director Keith Li. The film was never released legitimately on home video in the United States, and the virtual cinema screening uses a recent 2K preservation drawn from the only 35mm film print in existence. You can view the film via Vimeo On Demand here, and tickets are $7.75 each.