By MCN Editor editor@moviecitynews.com

On The Closing Of Brooklyn’s Indie reRun Theater

Dear friends and colleagues:

It is with some reluctance that I announce today that I’m stepping down as curator of the reRun Gastropub Theater. Although my time with reRun has been exciting and fruitful, on the whole, there have been creative differences internally that now make it too difficult for me to contribute sufficiently to the role. I will continue with my hosting duties for this Friday’s premiere of Nacho Vigalondo’s EXTRATERRESTRIAL, as well as the June 22 premiere of Nathan Adloff’s NATE & MARGARET, before exiting at the end of this month.

However, the split is amicable, and I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity that reBar/reRun owner Jason Stevens offered by hiring me two years ago. Since the summer of 2010, Jason and I have built something that New York City was sorely lacking: a theatrical venue where acclaimed independent films from the festival circuit, underseen and mostly undistributed, could flourish. Being able to garner reviews and other press for these undervalued features regularly breathed new life into them, and gave filmgoers the chance to actually see them in a fun environment… with a cocktail in one hand, a bag of bacon-fat popcorn in the other.

According to Jason, reRun will be temporarily shut down following the NATE & MARGARET theatrical run so that he may revamp the space for whatever its next incarnation will be.

Following my departure at reRun, I will continue to work as editor of GreenCine Daily and as a freelance critic/journalist for various outlets. The timing of this decision is uncanny, but coincidental: on June 1, my wife Jennifer and I took over a Cobble Hill video store called Video Free Brooklyn, which I had originally hoped would be a natural, cross-pollinating extension of the movie theater. While we work to renovate our new business for the neighborhood community, I will be pursuing curatorial prospects elsewhere. Hopefully, this won’t be my only chance to make a difference in the realm of film exhibition.

Sincerely,

Aaron Hillis

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“The important thing is: what makes the audience interested in it? Of course, I don’t take on any roles that don’t interest me, or where I can’t find anything for myself in it. But I don’t like talking about that. If you go into a restaurant and you have been served an exquisite meal, you don’t need to know how the chef felt, or when he chose the vegetables on the market. I always feel a little like I would pull the rug out from under myself if I were to I speak about the background of my work. My explanations would come into conflict with the reason a movie is made in the first place — for the experience of the audience — and that, I would not want.
~  Christoph Waltz

This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.