Now in Virtual Cinema – August 2020

By Rebecca Green & Barbara Twist

This week the British Film Institute unveiled details of a $39 million recovery fund for struggling independent cinemas which will be administered by the BFI as part of the British government’s $2 billion support package for arts and culture. Meanwhile, in the United States, cinemas (and the arts community at large) are struggling to stay afloat with no unified financial support system to turn to for help.   

In researching producers who have had films released via Virtual Cinema, I Googled “films currently playing in Virtual Cinema” expecting to find a current list similar to the 15 Movies You Can Watch in Virtual Theaters This Weekend put out by Vox in March. To my surprise, since that list was published, there hasn’t been another one like it. (If there has and I’m just not aware of it, please let me know.)

Yes, IndieWire is putting out The Best Movies New to Every Major Streaming Platform list each month, but in addition to limited Virtual Cinema titles, this list also includes releases from behemoths such as Netflix and Amazon Prime and puts Film Movement’s Ghanian film NAKOM, alongside HAMILTON on Disney+. 

Maybe industry leaders believe Virtual Cinema is just a band-aid to get through the pandemic. However, like Ira Deutchman who recently wrote How Virtual Cinema Could Help Arthouses Secure Their Future in 7 Easy Steps, I am a believer that if done right, Virtual Cinema can open up a much needed new revenue stream for arthouse theaters and expose films to new audiences. 

So as a way to support beloved arthouse cinemas, and the filmmakers who rely on them, Dear Producer is launching this new monthly roundup dedicated exclusively to films playing in Virtual Cinemas. 

This is not a curated list, I’m not picking out my favorite titles. This is meant to be an exhaustive list to bring awareness to these films. Virtual Cinema is only going to work if the films are promoted and I am excited to take this step into the new future of distribution. The next step is advocating for transparency in Virtual Cinema box office numbers… 

To compile this list, we reached out to distributors who are embracing this new model. If your film is being released on Virtual Cinema in August but is not on the list, it wasn’t by deliberate omission, we just didn’t get the information. Email the film’s details to hello@dearproducer.com to be added. 

Please share this list to amplify these films and to encourage the indie film community to embrace this transformation into the future.   

Keep Going, 
Rebecca 

MADE IN BANGLADESH
Distributor: ArtMattan Films
Release Date: 8/28/20

A GIRL MISSING
Distributor: Film Movement
Release Date: 7/31/20
Koji Fukada’s followup to the critically-acclaimed HARMONIUM (also available from Film Movement), A GIRL MISSING is a satisfying slow-burn drama expertly told” (Screen Daily). Ichiko is a private home-nurse who has worked for the elder matriarch of the Oishos for years and regards them as her own family. Ichiko’s quiet, routine life is shattered when a young member of the Oishos clan is kidnapped. When it is revealed that the kidnapper is none other than Ichiko’s nephew, her life begins to unravel in this taut thriller from one of Japan’s current cinematic masters. 
Find participating theaters here.
Trailer: A Girl Missing – Official Trailer

I USED TO GO HERE
Distributor: Gravitas Ventures
Release Date: 7/31/20
Following the lackluster launch of her debut novel, 35-year-old writer Kate Conklin (Gillian Jacobs) receives a welcome invitation from her former professor and old crush (Jemaine Clement) to speak at her alma mater. With her book tour cancelled, and her ego deflated, Kate hopes that returning to her old college as a published author will give her the morale boost she sorely needs. Instead, she falls into a comical regression—from misadventures with eccentric twenty-year olds to feelings of jealousy toward her former professor’s new favorite student. Bittersweet emotion and awkward humor abound as Kate journeys through her past to redefine her future in this big-hearted fourth feature from writer/director Kris Rey.
Find participating theaters here.
Trailer: I Used To Go Here – Official Trailer

REBUILDING PARADISE
Distributor:
Abramorama & National Geographic Documentary Films
Release Date: 7/31/20
On the morning of Nov. 8, 2018, a devastating firestorm engulfed the picturesque city of Paradise, California. By the time the Camp Fire was extinguished, it had killed 85 people, displaced 50,000 residents and destroyed 95% of local structures. It was the deadliest U.S. fire in 100 years — and the worst ever in California’s history. REBUILDING PARADISE, from Academy Award-winning director RON HOWARD, is a moving story of resilience in the face of tragedy, as a community ravaged by disaster comes together to recover what was lost and begin the important task of rebuilding. 
Find participating theaters here.
Trailer: Rebuilding Paradise Trailer (2020)

THE CUBAN
Distributor: DADA Films
Release Date: 7/31/20
Academy award winner Louis Gossett Jr. expands his repertoire of exceptional performances in the role of Luis, an elderly Cuban musician who is brought out of his shell by his care worker, a young Afghan immigrant named Mina. Mina’s attempts to get through to Luis, even just to feed him, are futile. That is, until she discovers the music. A poster of Benny More inspires Mina to hum a jazz tune that, to her surprise, ignites a spark inside him. As each day passes the music awakens Luis more and more until the colorful world of his past becomes vibrant and real again. Mina comes into her own as she gets to know him and their friendship blossoms. THE CUBAN is a powerful heart-warming experience of music, friendship, family and loyalty that highlights the humanity of some of the most vulnerable in our society and the light they are still capable of bringing those who care for them in their final days. It also highlights how unlikely friendships are formed through kindness and a desire to help those who are vulnerable. 
Find participating theaters here
Trailer: The Cuban – Official Trailer

THE FIGHT
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures
Release Date: 7/31/20
Only days after the 2017 inauguration of Donald Trump, furious Americans gathered at airports across the country in protest of the Muslim ban. But it was the efforts of the American Civil Liberties Union, waging the fight in federal court, that turned the tide, staying the executive order on grounds of unconstitutionality. The ACLU has never granted access to its offices, even as its battles—on the fronts of abortion rights, immigration rights, LGBT rights and voting rights—have become more timely and momentous than ever. With THE FIGHT, access has finally been granted to the filmmaking team of Eli B. Despres, Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg, makers of 2016’s award-winning Weiner. Rousing, inspiring and slyly humorous, their latest documentary follows four seismically important cases and a handful of magnetic attorneys. These lawyers may not know how to charge a cell phone or operate a stand-up desk but have persuaded Supreme Court Justices, beating back serious encroachments upon our freedoms. An antidote to endless news cycles filled with tweet tantrums, THE FIGHT inspires with the story of front-line warriors in the battle for the American soul. 
Find participating theaters here.
Trailer: The Fight – Official Trailer

A THOUSAND CUTS
Distributor: PBS Distribution
Release Date: 8/7/20
Nowhere is the worldwide erosion of democracy, fueled by social media disinformation campaigns, more starkly evident than in the authoritarian regime of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Journalist Maria Ressa places the tools of the free press—and her freedom—on the line in defense of truth and democracy. Produced, written and directed by Ramona S. Diaz (IMELDA, MOTHERLAND). 
Find participating theaters here.
Trailer: A THOUSAND CUTS (2020) | Official Trailer | PBS Distribution

CREEM: AMERICA’S ONLY ROCK ‘N’ ROLL MAGAZINE
Distributor: Greenwich Entertainment
Release Date: 8/7/20
Capturing the messy upheaval of the ’70s just as rock was re-inventing itself, the film explores CREEM Magazine’s humble beginnings in post-riot Detroit, follows its upward trajectory from underground paper to national powerhouse, then bears witness to its imminent demise following the tragic and untimely deaths of its visionary publisher, Barry Kramer, and its most famous alum and genius clown prince, Lester Bangs, a year later. Fifty years after publishing its first issue, “America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine” remains a seditious spirit in music and culture.
Find participating theaters here.
Trailer: Creem: America’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll Magazine | Official Trailer

OUT STEALING HORSES
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures
Release Date: 8/7/20
November 1999: 67-year-old Trond (Stellan Skarsgård), lives in self-imposed isolation and looks forward to welcoming in the new millennium alone.  As winter arrives he meets one of his few neighbors, Lars (Bjørn Floberg), and realizes he knew him back in the summer of 1948. 1948 – the year Trond turned 15. The summer Trond grew up. OUT STEALING HORSES is based on the bestselling novel by Norwegian author Per Petterson, which received several important international awards and was included in The New York Times ’10 Best Books of 2007 (Fiction)’. Petterson’s novels have been translated into more than 50 languages. 
Find participating theaters here.
Trailer: Out Stealing Horses – Official Trailer

SONG WITHOUT A NAME (Canción sin nombre)
Distributor: Film Movement
Release Date: 8/7/20
Based on harrowing true events, SONG WITHOUT A NAME tells the story of Georgina, an indigenous Andean woman whose newborn baby is whisked away moments after its birth in a downtown Lima clinic – and never returned. Stonewalled by a byzantine and indifferent legal system, Georgina approaches journalist Pedro Campas, who uncovers a web of fake clinics and abductions – suggesting a rotting corruption deep within Peruvian society. Set in 1988, in a Peru wracked by political violence and turmoil, Melina León’s heart-wrenching first feature renders Georgina’s story in gorgeous, shadowy black-and-white cinematography, “styled like the most beautiful of bad dreams” (Variety).  SONG WITHOUT A NAME is a “Kafkaesque thriller” (The Hollywood Reporter) that unflinchingly depicts real-life, stranger-than fiction tragedies with poetic beauty. 
Find participating theaters here.
Trailer: Song Without A Name – Official Trailer

YOU NEVER HAD IT – AN EVENING WITH CHARLES BUKOWSKI
Distributor: Slamdance Presents In Collaboration with Kino Marquee 
Release Date: 8/7/20
A night of drinking and talking about sex, literature, childhood and humanity with the irreverent writer poet Charles Bukowski in his California house in 1981. A story of tapes lost, found and brought back to life. 
Find participating theaters here.
Trailer: You Never Had It – An Evening With Charles Bukowski – Official Trailer

Bert Stern’s JAZZ ON A SUMMER’S DAY
Distributor: Kino Lorber
Release Date: 8/12/20
Filmed at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival and directed by world-renowned photographer Bert Stern, Jazz on a Summer’s Day features intimate performances by an all-star line-up of musical legends including Louis Armstrong, Thelonius Monk, Gerry Mulligan, Anita O’Day, Chuck Berry, Dinah Washington, and closes with a beautiful rendition or The Lord’s Prayer by Mahalia Jackson at midnight to usher in Sunday morning. The 1959 classic is considered one of the most extraordinary and possibly the first concert film ever made. Its sparkling new 4K restoration by IndieCollect, recently premiered at the 57th New York Film Festival. The film was named to the National Film Registry in 1999, and its restoration was funded by the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress in time to celebrate the film’s 60th Anniversary.
Find participating theaters here.
Trailer: Jazz On A Summer’s Day – Official Trailer

MARTIN MARGIELA: IN HIS OWN WORDS
Distributor: Oscilloscope Films
Release Date: 8/14/20
One of the most revolutionary and influential fashion designers of his time, Martin Margiela has remained an elusive figure the entirety of his decades-long career. From Jean Paul Gaultier’s assistant to creative director at Hermès to leading his own House, Margiela never showed his face publicly and avoided interviews, but reinvented fashion with his radical style through forty-one provocative collections. Now, for the first time, the “Banksy of fashion” reveals his drawings, notes, and personal items in this exclusive, intimate profile of his vision. The film features interviews with, among others, Margiela himself, Jean Paul Gaultier, Carine Roitfeld, Trend Forecaster Lidewij Edelkoort, Fashion Critic Cathy Horyn, and fashion historian Olivier Saillard. The score has been composed by the Belgian rock band dEUS.
Find participating theaters here.
Trailer: Martin Margiela: In His Own Words – Official Trailer

AFRICAN VIOLET
Distributor: Venera Films
Release Date: 8/21/2020
Middle-aged Shokoo learns that her ex-husband Fereydoun has been placed in a nursing home by their children. Shokoo, now re-married to a second husband Reza, decides to take care of Fereydoun in their home. This new situation transforms their daily life in unexpected ways.
Find tickets here with Laemmle Virtual Cinema.
Trailer: African Violet – Official Trailer

DESERT ONE
Distributor: Greenwich Entertainment
Release Date: 8/21/20
Using new archival sources and unprecedented access to key players on both sides, master documentarian Barbara Kopple (Harlan County, USA) reveals the true story behind one of the most daring rescues in modern US history: a secret mission to free hostages captured during the 1979 Iranian revolution. 
Find participating theaters here.
Trailer: Desert One | Official Trailer

HOUSE OF CARDIN
Distributor: Utopia
Release Date: 8/21/20
A rare peek into the mind of a genius, an authorized feature documentary chronicling the life and design of Pierre Cardin. A true original, Mr. Cardin has granted the directors exclusive access to his archives and his empire, and unprecedented interviews at the sunset of a glorious career. 
Find participating theaters here.
Trailer: House of Cardin – Official Trailer

THE AUGUST VIRGIN
Distributor: Outsider Pictures
Release Date: 8/21/20
Eva (played by the film’s co-writer, the luminescent Itasao Aran) is about to turn 33. Her decision to stay in Madrid in the sweltering month of August, when most of the city’s inhabitants flee, is something of a leap of faith – she’s in search of herself and her own life. The neighborhoods around her are bursting with traditional Saint’s Days parties and celebrations, while she encounters a series of old friends and lovers, and meets some new ones. A former boyfriend who still pines for her, a young mother who Eva’s lost touch with, a sexy Welsh guy with a thing for anti-fascist songs, a Reiki therapist who wants to align her female energies, and a new possible love interest, are just a few of the characters that fill her month of revelations, regrets and discoveries. The August Virgin is the journey of one woman, a dreamy, sensual summer story of delayed coming of age, dancing in the streets, and good conversation. With music from and an appearance by well-known Spanish singer Soléa Morente. 
Find participating theaters here.
Trailer: THE AUGUST VIRGIN – Trailer on Vimeo

NOMAD: IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF BRUCE CHATWIN
Distributor: Music Box Films
Release Date: 8/26/20
Exclusive NYC premiere at Film Forum. Werner Herzog on Bruce Chatwin (1940-1989): “He was a writer like no other. We were kindred spirits.” Two brilliant polymaths come together in Herzog’s fascinating appreciation of Chatwin, a man whose obsessions included walking, the ascetic lives of nomads (and its inverse: the OCD of collectors), pre-history, mythology, Aboriginal culture, art history, and archeology. Described as “alarmingly handsome,” Chatwin began work at Sotheby’s (he called it “smother boys”) dusting objects – and at age 26 became its youngest director. Then he quit – to study, travel, and write. His fictionalized biography of a 19th century Brazilian slave trader became the basis for Herzog’s COBRA VERDE. With a writing style (The Songlines, In Patagonia, On the Black Hill) described by John Updike as “clipped, lapidary prose that compresses worlds into pages,” Chatwin brought travel writing to imaginative new heights. And, like Herzog, he was known for embellishing facts to make them truer. NOMAD is Herzog’s moving portrait of the man and the artist who didn’t tell “half-truths,” but “truth and a half.” 
Link to tickets here.
Trailer: Nomad: In The Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin – Official Trailer

MADE IN BANGLADESH
Distributor: ArtMattan Films
Release Date: 8/28/20
Shimu, 23, works in a clothing factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Faced with difficult conditions at work, she decides to start a union with her co-workers. Despite threats from the management and disapproval of her husband, Shimu is determined to go on. Together the women must fight and find a way.
Find participating theaters here.
Trailer: Made in Bangladesh – Official Trailer

Comments are closed.