Austin Film Society Joins Kino Lorber's Art House Streaming Experiment

Cannes-lauded Brazilian drama Bacurau will be first film

AFS Cinema has signed up to be part of a new initiative from distributor Kino Lorber to give art house theaters a virtual box office during the coronavirus closures

Like just about every other cinema in Austin, the Austin Film Society's AFS Cinema is shuttered. However, there's closed, and then there's closer. A bold new initiative from indie distributor Kino Lorber will allow loyal cineastes a chance to watch the new movies that would have played at AFS while they're home.

Today Kino Lorber announced that all its upcoming titles will be released through a virtual theatrical experience called Kino Marquee. Fans will be able to buy a viewing link, valid for five days. However, what makes this special is that the "tickets" will be sold through a virtual box office connected to a local art house theater. The ticket price will be split between the cinema and the distributor, just like if you were there in person.

The first film being offered is the Cannes-lauded Bacurau, which Kino Lorber had just opened in New York and which was supposed to be opening at AFS on April 3. The distributor has reached out to all 60 cinemas nationally about creating Kino Marquee screenings, and so far 12 have signed up - including AFS. Tickets wil be available via (UPDATE: AFS has informed us that tickets are now available).

Kino Lorber is planning to continue this initiative with all its planned upcoming releases, as well as that of its partner firm Zeitgeist. The idea is for these initial online releases to be treated just the same as a theatrical release. If a film is successful, it will be held over in these online local markets for another week.

Of course, there have been big headlines already about how studio releases like Bloodshot and Birds of Prey have had their digital release dates moved up, and Trolls World Tour will become the biggest day-and-date (meaning release in theaters and on VOD on the same day) since Tower Heist in 2011.

However, Wendy Lidell, SVP of Theatrical Distribution at Kino Lorber, explained that this initiative speaks to the unique relationship between art house distributors and art house cinemas. "We cannot release the kinds of films we do without their support,” she said “Of course we wanted to find a way to keep our current film release in front of audiences, but to do so in a way that would also benefit our exhibition partners. We want to help ensure that these theaters will be able to reopen their doors after this crisis passes. The Kino Marquee program offers an opportunity for theaters to generate revenue while their doors are closed.”

We'll be keeping track of all the Kino Marquee releases at AFS Cinema, and look for our review of Bacurau this weekend.

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Coronavirus, Kino Lorber, Zeitgeist, Kino Marquee, AFS Cinema, Bacurau

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