A group of independent movie theaters, including Alamo Drafthouse, IFC Center and the Film Society of Lincoln Center, has come together to protest President Donald Trump, specifically taking aim at his alleged proposed cuts on cultural programs, including the entire elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts.
On April 4, 90 participating theaters throughout the United States and one in Canada will screen the film “1984,” based on the 1949 novel by George Orwell. The story centers around Winston Smith, a member of the Outer Party. Winston works in the Records Department in the Ministry of Truth; his job is to rewrite and distort history. As a way to rebel and escape Big Brother’s tyranny, at least in his own mind, he begins a diary, which is an act punishable by death. The group of movie theaters chose April 4 to screen this film because that is the date in which Winston starts writing on his diary.
“Orwell’s novel begins with the sentence, ‘It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen,’” reads a joint statement on behalf of all participating theaters. “Less than one month into the new presidential administration, theater owners collectively believe the clock is already striking thirteen. Orwell’s portrait of a government that manufactures their own facts, demands total obedience, and demonizes foreign enemies, has never been timelier.”
They add, “The endeavor encourages theaters to take a stand for our most basic values: freedom of speech, respect for our fellow human beings, and the simple truth that there are no such things as ‘alternative facts.’ By doing what they do best – showing a movie – the goal is that cinemas can initiate a much-needed community conversation at a time when the existence of facts, and basic human rights are under attack. Through nationwide participation and strength in numbers, these screenings are intended to galvanize people at the crossroads of cinema and community, and bring us together to foster communication and resistance against current efforts to undermine the most basic tenets of our society.”
A full list of participating theaters can be found here. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to local charities and organizations.