Sony has been in the crosshairs of nearly everyone this past week in the wake of the company’s decision to cancel its Christmas release plan for the Seth Rogen comedy “The Interview” after a series of devastating hacking efforts and threats to public safety attributed to North Korea. Even the President admonished that decision on Friday, telling Sony, “Do not get into a pattern where you’re intimated by these criminal attacks.” But at least one organization has showed support: Art House Convergence, which runs its annual exhibitors conference each January before Sundance.
Over the weekend, Art House Convergence director Russ Collins reached out to the company in an open letter published on the organization’s website offering to screen “The Interview” at no charge to the studio as a one-day special. “We do this to express the value and power of freedom and to support you, our artistic and business colleagues, during a time of great vexation,” wrote Collins, who’s also the CEO of Ann Arbor’s Michigan Theater.
Read Collins’ full letter below:
Michael Lynton, Chairman and CEO Sony Entertainment, Inc. Amy Pascal, Co-Chair Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group
Dear Mr. Lynton and Ms. Pascal,
Your Art House motion picture colleagues wish to support you and your company at this difficult time. We empathize with the ruthless attack your company suffered and we want to help in our small but powerful way.
The enormity of the attack your company has suffered and the difficulty of the decisions you have been forced to make in recent days are nearly unimaginable; similarly is the monumental nature of the business disruption your company has endured in recent weeks. Your life, and possibly your judgment, has been disrupted beyond comprehension. The financial bottom line impact will be, frankly, unfathomable for an independent Art House to comprehend. However, in life and art, values are the ultimate “bottom line” and striving for freedom and goodness are the sometimes conflicting, but paramount values of enlightened societies.
We understand that “The Interview” is on one level “just a movie,” meaning, in terms of human history, a probably facile entertainment and business investment. But circumstance has propelled this work into a nexus of values, both societal and artistic. It is also, as an artistic and national community, an opportunity to respond clearly to the behavior of an international bully opposed, by word and deed, to the value of freedom.
We, the independent Art House community, will gladly exhibit “The Interview” as a special, one-day showing without pecuniary expectation, or as a regular part of our cinema programming. We do this to express the value and power of freedom and to support you, our artistic and business colleagues, during a time of great vexation.
Best wishes to you and all your Sony Entertainment colleagues as you endeavor to restore normalcy (if that is possible in show-business!) to your work-life and your business.
Most Sincerely — Russ Collins, Director, Art House Convergence
UPDATE: Today, the organization set up a petition for independent exhibitors to pledge their support of Sony for a theatrical release of the film. The petition, which can be found at HERE, reads as follows: