The return of in-person cinema viewing is happening; kinda
We love checking in with Adam Roberts about when his indie movie theaters are going to open again. Here’s an update from Screenland:
It’s been two and a half months since we showed our last film at Screenland Armour Theatre due to COVID19. This week the Kansas City area began reopening at 50% occupancies and, as the warm weather descends upon us and a nation shifts its attention to more pressing matters, we are dipping a toe into our own reopening.
Truthfully, it doesn’t feel real and it doesn’t feel right to be returning to “business as usual”. For the past few months, I’ve been fighting to keep my business alive and working to shed light and support on different community entrepreneurs, educational facilities, and local arts groups. Just last week we thought reopening would be much later than it is now and then (seemingly) at the drop of a dime, we were told we could reopen at a capacity that makes sense this weekend.
The last few days we have been winding down maintenance and preparing to reopen; but it’s been impossible to focus. My heart and attention have shifted towards helping the Black community who have long suffered too much hate and inequality.
It has been an exhausting few weeks to say the least and it’s going to continue to be so until justice is permanently at the forefront.
This year has marked a monumental change in the way our lives were in 2019. That life is not coming back.
As I was walking this morning, something I’ve been doing daily since March, I had all these thoughts swirling in my head and thinking to myself, how can I focus and be the leader for my employees at this time when re-opening seems so petty. I recalled myself as a young pre-teen, whose parents were going through a loud, messy divorce and the escape I discovered that changed my life. Cinema. As much of an escape as it can be, it is equally art and social commentary. Maybe, we can offer our community something unique in this time of chaos and unknown. An escape.
One of the first few films gracing our screens this weekend is Spike Lee’s ‘Do the Right Thing’. It is a cinematic masterpiece that could not be more timely. One part a hang-out film, the other a strong political statement about race in America, a statement that hasn’t aged a day since 1989.
The feeling that we could offer an escape and the films we exhibit could educate all seemed to click with me.
While there are no new films available, if you haven’t seen these classic films, we encourage you to view them as if they were released today. I’ve built what I consider to be a strong and varied lineup. Options include Candyman (1992), Kill Bill Double-Feature, Mamma Mia and ‘Dune’ (1984).
So, the question here is what are you showing and how are you ensuring safety in your theatres?
First, we have severely reduced our numbers below the 50% capacity allowance to ensure that at least a minimum of six feet between guests. We have extended cleaning times between shows to be able to properly clean and sanitize surfaces. We are not accepting cash as a means of payment to limit any transmission. All of our staff will be in masks. We are encouraging you to arrive with a mask on and wear it while picking up tickets and concessions. Ticket will only be available via online at www.screenland.com
We understand many people will not feel comfortable yet coming out. We do not intend to forgo our robust online presence which includes our Patreon and online film rentals at www.screenlandonline.com We will continue to work to provide entertainment and education to the best of our ability to our community.
Thank you for your support and we look forward to being an escape this weekend or in the near future.