Two of busy director Abel Ferrara’s new features in just the last four years are documentaries, with “Sportin’ Life” fresh off a bow at the Venice Film Festival, and last year’s fest favorite “The Projectionist” now coming soon to theaters from Kino Lorber. A nonfiction love letter to Nicolas “Nick” Nicolaou, one of New York City’s last independent movie theater owners, “The Projectionist” will be offered by Kino to arthouse cinemas exclusively as they open, with 100 percent of ticket sales benefiting local theaters. Watch the first trailer, exclusive to IndieWire, below.
If you’re not familiar with the work of Nicolaou, a cinephile favorite in New York whose fascinating story extends well beyond the realm of the movies, here’s the film’s official synopsis: “‘The Projectionist’ traces the life and livelihood of friend and fellow cinephile Nicolas ‘Nick’ Nicolaou, a Cypriot immigrant who moved to America as a young boy and began working as a teenager in small neighborhood movie theaters around Manhattan. After decades of defying gentrification, changing viewing habits, and challenging corporate dominance in the 1980s, he is now one of New York City’s last independent theater owners (he currently owns and operates Manhattan’s Cinema Village, Bay Ridge’s Alpine Cinemas, and Forest Hills’ Cinemart). At once a walking tour of New York City’s evolving theatrical landscape, a history of moviegoing over the last 50 years, and a moving tribute to friendship, tenacity and movie love, ‘The Projectionist’ is an indelible tribute and timely paean to what going to the movies are all about.”
Along with the release, Kino Lorber is encouraging theaters to add conversations with theater staff and programmers to its screenings of “The Projectionist” as a way to welcome back their audiences when they can return safely, and discuss why they might share Nicolaou’s passion for keeping the movie-theater experience alive.
Originally a 2019 Tribeca Film Festival premiere, “The Projectionist” is available to theaters from Kino whenever they are open and ready to screen the film. Ferrara made a splash earlier this month at the Biennale with “Sportin’ Life,” a documentary showcase of his longtime collaboration with Willem Dafoe. (Read IndieWire’s review here.)