AFS Cinema, Violet Crown Closing Temporarily During COVID-19 Outbreak
Arthouse cinemas follow national chains
By Richard Whittaker,
10:50AM, Tue. Mar. 17, 2020
Where the national chains go, Austin's arthouse scene was bound to follow: both AFS Cinema and Violet Crown have announced that they are closing during the coronavirus outbreak.
The closures come after Alamo, AMC, Landmark, and Regal made similar announcements yesterday.
AFS announced that it will close effective Friday. Explaining the decision, Austin Film Society (which runs the cinema) wrote that that "following the recommendations of the CDC and Austin Public Health, the Austin Film Society believes the best course of action to keep the community safe is temporary closure." UPDATE: in the wake of the City of Austin's announcement that all gatherings of 10 people or more are now prohibited, AFS updated their announcement to indicate that they are closed immediately.
Anyone with a ticket for an AFS Cinema screening will be able to get a refund, a rain check, or turn their purchase into a donation to the society, and all announced special programs will be rescheduled for a later date. As for members, the society will place their membership on hold for the duration of the closure, and extend it to cover that lost time when the cinema reopens.
The society, which is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is also taking donations to help cover costs while the cinema is dark. You can contribute via www.clickandpledge.com.
The closure comes as AFS was already shuffling its schedule. The local opening of Austin filmmaker Annie Silverstein's SXSW-selected title Bull had been moved up to March 20, but now has been delayed. Indie Meme, the annual celebration of South Asian cinema, had already announced it was postponing its April date indefinitely.
David Gil, director of marketing and programming for Violet Crown, said that his mini-chain (which includes sites in Austin, Charlottesville, and Santa Fe) will close immediately, and is offering refunds for all ticket buyers. He added, "We are facing an unprecedented situation today, but we look forward to welcoming you back to Violet Crown as soon as safely possible. We will get through this. And we will all be stronger for it. We remain forever grateful for your patronage."