Friday, June 21, 2024

Art House Movie Theatres To Benefit from Virtual Screenings

I miss going to the movies. I miss going to the theatre. I miss hugs and kisses.

While being virtual is safe, I think we’re all a bit over-zoomed with meetings. When the pandemic first set in, we also received an abundance of content from performers who also were bored at home so they shared their talents with us – often giving us too many options.

As we are in the fifth month of shelter-in-place and social distancing, the entertainment community – as well as sports events – have found a way to make this work. Not only for our enjoyment but to keep businesses in business.

We quickly learned that using food apps and pick-up has helped restaurants somewhat which includes buying gift cards. But what about movie theatres? Kino Lorber has thought of a way not only to help their company, which distributes independent, foreign and LGBT titles, but the theatres who have screened their movies in the past.

I had a nice chat with Nick Kemp, Kino Lorber’s marketing director, and he told me of Kino Marquee – a website where you can go and see one of their movies. This site not only brings us current films, but it also benefits the movie theatres that have screened their films in the past.

According to Kemp, simply go to and find the movie you want to see and then buy tickets from the theatre of your choice. It doesn’t have to be a local theatre because you’re not going physically to the theatre. But the theatre you pick will also make monies from the tickets you buy “just like when they actually screened the movies.”

Kemp said they started this idea as soon as the pandemic set in. “We had to think of a way to salvage our March film releases,” he says. “Working with the movie theatres also helps the theatres revenue,” he adds, pointing out that it’s these smaller art house theatres that will be hit the hardest during these trying times.

It’s actually a win-win situation as a smaller distributor likes Kino Lorber needs these smaller theatres and their followers to get their movies seen. Kemp adds that they also used to rely on film festivals so they can market the films with laurels and reviews they got in the festival as welll as positive audience word of mouth. But as film festivals pivot (or cancel and postpone), Kino Lorber needed to do the same.

Like a movie at your local theatre, Kino Marquee has films “screen” at certain theatres or various time periods as “it’s up to the theatres.” Kemp says some theatres make a movie accessible for just a week while others have retained movies for months as they get a good amount of “attendees” in the virtual theatre. Guess you can ask a food app to deliver your snack bar items – or perhaps Kino and partners might want to make that the next enhancement for this new way of going to the movies.

They now have over 400 theatres participating and in some new markets where there actually aren’t any art house theatres. Kemp thinks they have one on almost every state, in fact, and even have gotten international requests.

For those who follow a film’s success like through Box Office Mojo, these new times we’re living in doesn’t make the digital numbers transparent, as Kemp explains, so we really can’t measure a film’s financial success the way we used to. For fans of the non-Hollywood blockbuster, Kino Marquee is a terrific option.

LGBT film fans can currently view the Frameline recent hit “Denise Ho: Becoming the Song” about a lesbian Cantopop singer who uses her controversial lyrics to bring attention to the struggles of extradition in Hong Kong. You also can still catch the three-part narrative drama “Proud,” a gay French saga that spans three generations.

Coming up is an anniversary screening of “Bloodsisters,” which was a hit in 1995 and its story of lesbian dykes is still relevant today. Kemp also pointed out how they love to bring restored films to a new audience including the recent “Victor and Victoria” – the original German film and not the Julie Andrews musical (but same great story).

Independent film lovers might enjoy the current “Tommaso” starring Willem Dafoe, who seems to have only made quality movies over the past few years. “Lucky Grandma” looks like a riot in which an 80-year-old gambling woman gets involved in a heist!

Kemp also hinted in October we will have “Martin Eden,” which features “The Old Guard” star Luca Marinelli in a film that swept the Italian Academy Awards. Fans of jazz will likely flock to see “Jazz On a Summer’s Day” when it “opens” August 21. Be ready to travel back to the Newport Jazz Festival and see Louis Armstrong, Dinah Washington and more in what has been called “the best feature-length concert film ever.”

So many options and currently we have so much time. So let’s all go to the movies and support our theatres. Find a movie and theatre you’d like to support at

Movie poster photos courtesy of Kino Lorber

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Kevin M. Thomas

Kevin M. Thomas, or @ReelKev, is an arts blogger and entertainment reporter. In addition to his own website, and ReelKev YouTube channel, Kevin used to be the LGBT arts writer for and contributes to as well as a semi-regular on San Francisco's cable TV show, "10 Percent."

Kevin M. Thomas has 157 posts and counting. See all posts by Kevin M. Thomas

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