Nearly 200 cinemas around the U.S. will celebrate the inaugural Art House Theater Day on Saturday, September 24 by showing first run and repertory screenings of movies from a variety of genres. The one-day, nationwide event is being organized by Art House Convergence, an international consortium of independent, community movie theaters.
Participating theaters will screen at least one of four films, including the theatrical premiere of the Magnolia Pictures documentary “Danny Says,” about punk rock pioneer Danny Fields. The three other movies include a 2k restored version of Terry Gilliam’s 1981 adventure-fantasy “Time Bandits,” director Don Coscarelli’s 1979 cult sci-fi horror classic “Phantasm: Remastered,” and a one-time only presentation of “A Town Called Panic: The Specials” a collection of stop-motion animated short films featuring two new shorts.
Select theaters will also live-stream a Q&A from Austin, Texas’ Fantistic Fest screening of “Phantasm,” featuring Coscarelli and members of the original cast. Each cinema participating in Art House Theater Day will have a unique programming selection of other sneak perks, major art house films and repertory re-releases.
Filmmakers, actors and critics that have publicly expressed their support for the new annual event include director Jonathan Demme, Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers, and filmmaker, author, and Jacob Burns Film Center founder Stephen Apkon. Sponsored by companies including Amazon Studios, Indiegogo and Warner Bros., Art House Theater Day will be celebrated by independent cinemas in nearly every U.S. state.
“Lots of people from different theaters around the country are working to make this possible,” Lawren Desai, Art House Theater Day co-founder and owner of Aperture Cinema in Winston-Salem, North Carolina told IndieWire. Desai co-founded the initiative with Austin Film Society’s Gabriel Chicoine.
“There is a really vibrant community of programmers and filmmakers cooperating together and finding a home for their films,” Chicoine said. “Art House Theater Day is how we’re messaging that to the world.” Outside of the U.S., a small number of theaters from Canada, Australia and Estonia are also celebrating the event.
Aside from the participating exhibitors and theater owners, much of the success of the first Art House Theater Day relies on the indie distribution companies that are making films available.
“Some of the best independent film distributors and repertory distributors came forward with really awesome programs,” Chicoine said. “One of our main goals is to give people something that they’re really going to remember.”