The specialty box office space has quickly adapted to the changing film landscape as many are shifting to virtual theatrical openings. Many indie and arthouse titles do day and date releases and are VOD-only so the transition, for the most part, is familiar territory for many distributors and production companies.
Written and directed by Jonathan Jakubowicz, Resistance tells the true story of a group of Girls and Boy Scouts that created a network that went on to save nearly 10,000 orphans whose parents had been killed by the Nazis in the World War II. Jesse Eisenberg takes the lead role as an aspiring Jewish actor who has a need to help the children which leads him to the world of pantomime. As a result, he would become the iconic French mime Marcel Marceau.
Jakubowicz is known for his film Hands of Stone which premiered at Cannes in 2016. The film starred Edgar Ramirez (who also appears in Resistance) as the legendary boxer Roberto Duran as it followed his life and shed light on his trainer Ray Arcel played by Robert De Niro. In 2005, the Venezuelan director helmed the crime drama Secuestro Express which went on became the nation’s biggest box office hit for Venezuela at that time. The socially-driven narrative of kidnapping was based on his own experience of being kidnapped and then-President Hugo Chávez was not happy with it. Two lawsuits were filed against the film for alleged defamation and a charge against Jakubowicz promoting drugs and calling out the
Also, two lawsuits were filed against the film in the Venezuelan Supreme Court; one to remove the film from circulation because it contained alleged defamation, the other to charge Jakubowicz with promoting drugs and putting the country and its regime in a negative light. That said, Jakubowicz is not afraid to push the envelope when it comes to socially-minded narratives.
Resistance also stars Ed Harris, Clémence Poésy and Matthias Schweighöfer. Jakubowicz serves as a producer along with Claudine Jakubowicz, Dan Maag, Thorsten Schumacher, Carlos García de Paredes and Patrick Zorer. The film drops on digital platforms and cable VOD today.
Also opening virtually this weekend is Deborah Kampmeier’s (Split, Virgin, Hounddog) Tape, which is based on true events.
Set in New York City, Tape hits close to home when it comes to the Time’s Up movement. It follows two aspiring actresses (Isabelle Fuhrman and Annarosa Mudd) who cross paths with the darker side of the entertainment industry and how women are taken advantage of. The film addresses questionable behavior that often goes unseen and looks to answer the question: “How could this kind of thing happen?”
“Tape is based on my dear friend’s true story. Making this film gave her a voice,” said Deborah Kampmeier. “Oftentimes the silencing of a woman’s voice after an act of violence or coercion can be as damaging as the act itself. We hope our film brings voice and relief to others whose stories have been silenced. Emotional isolation can be painful and frightening for survivors, and during this time of social distancing we want to provide a space to connect and find support after watching the film together.”
The film had a virtual premiere — red carpet and all — on March 26. It will then be available at theatrical screening times. To expand on the message of the film, the daily screenings at 7 PM ET will be followed by a panel conversation with different special guests including Kampmeier and members of the cast and crew every night from now until April 9. The film will then be available beginning April 10 on VOD platforms. Watch the trailer below.
Gravitas Ventures is set to release Pi Ware’s (Solitude, The Act) documentary Skin Deep: The Battle Over Morgellons on March 31. The docu takes a deep dive into the heated controversy surrounding Morgellons disease, a skin condition where fibers grow under a person’s skin. Many medical professionals consider the condition delusional and the feature sheds light on the heated debate.
As for other specialty streaming options, many distributors, production companies and studios are stepping up to the digital plate with their titles. For the most part, they are giving them digital release sooner rather than later. As previously reported, Focus Features released Emma. on digital while Searchlight Pictures’ Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell Sundance comedy Downhill is available starting today. In addition, Neon’s critically acclaimed Portrait of a Lady on Fire has made its way to Hulu.
The indie Inside The Rain had an exclusive New York City release on March 13 and was set to expand to the top 40 markets in the country before the coronavirus pandemic. The producers have now decided to move the romantic dramedy to digital and will allow viewers to watch it through purchase, subscription or free via ad-supported platforms.
Written, directed and starring Aaron Fisher, The film follows a bipolar student (Fisher) who is part of an incident that causes misunderstanding which leads to his expulsion. After befriending a woman at a strip club (Ellen Toland), they plan to recreate the incident to prove his innocence. The film also stars Rosie Perez and Eric Roberts, Catherine Curtin and Paul Schulze.
On top of all of this, Kino Lorber’s virtual theatrical exhibition initiative Kino Marquee has expanded to 150 theaters with the Cannes winner Bacurau. Alamo Drafthouse and Laemmle Theaters have just signed on to screen through many of their locations. They will also hold a virtual Q&A with filmmakers Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles and cast hosted by BAM. This will be available for viewing on April 1 at 8pm ET. Ken Loach’s Sorry We Missed You is also available through Kino Marquee with Film Forum in New York.
Music Box Films has also created its own initiative Music Box StreamLocal, which launches today. The platform streams current releases at home via a ticket purchase through arthouse theaters around the country. This will also include livestream discussions between filmmakers and arthouse patrons.
The initiative kicks off with the coming-of-age drama And Then We Danced. On April 2, they will stream a Q&A with director Levan Akin via Instagram Live. As of today, participating theaters include:
- Belcourt Theatre – Nashville, TN
- The Little Theatre – Rochester, NY
- a/perture cinema – Winston-Salem, NC
- Museum of Fine Arts – Houston, TX