Panida Theater, an independently owned and operated theater in Sandpoint, Idaho, has cancelled screenings of “Wild Canaries,” a comedy-mystery released by IFC Films, due to “inappropriate content.” In a letter from the theater’s executive director Patricia Walker White, shared on its Facebook page, the theater said the film was cancelled due to material “that was not disclosed, nor represented in any of the materials reviewed for this film. Its unrated status should clearly have been an R rating. It contained subject matter not in keeping with the standards of the Panida.”
When taken to task on its Facebook page, the theater responded further: “We wanted to say that, yes, we do schedule R-rated movies but we make sure our audience is aware before and we didn’t want to misrepresent the movie content…we are only given trailers and descriptions and not given access to view it prior to booking. This one said nothing about drug use, strong language and sex. We are trying to reschedule it now with proper content advisories.”
The film, written and directed by Lawrence Michael Levine, stars Levine and his real-life wife Sophia Takal, as a Brooklyn couple who suspects foul play when their rent controlled neighbor suddenly drops dead.
Takal was miffed by the theater’s decision. “They said it was due to content,” she wrote on Facebook. “They said it didn’t meet their theaters standards. They said there was drug use, sex and language and the movie was [not rated] but should have been rated R. They’ve played R rated movies before and movies with drugs and violence, according to some Facebook comments. ‘Wild Canaries’ has no nudity, no sex scenes. It has two scenes where a guy is smoking marijuana. It has two lesbian main characters. It’s hard not to jump to the conclusion that that’s why they pulled it.”
But she did find a silver lining. “A lot of locals seem bummed that the theater did this so that makes me happy,” Takal wrote.
Sundance Selects did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but for the time being, Sandpoint residents can watch “Wild Canaries” along with the rest of the country, on VOD.