Covid's seismic changes don't mean the end of cinema
There’s no doubt that this pandemic has made seismic shifts in the ways that we watch, enjoy and engage with film and cinema; streaming is through the roof while many cinemas are still closed. There’s been lots of doom-and-gloom in the press recently about how this spells the end for cinema, but I don’t think it does. I’ve always been an advocate for streaming sites, having spent my teens and early twenties in towns and cities that only had multiplexes, but being desperate to discover more. They provide access to a wide range of film and therefore, help to build broad tastes and encourage enthusiastic, adventurous film watchers of all ages. Ultimately, I believe in wider access to film for everyone, in whatever form they enjoy it most, and that the prevalence of streaming will help more people discover what they love about film. In the long term, more film-lovers will hopefully equal more cinema-goers.
The pandemic has forced many of those in the business of film to get creative and adapt quickly. At the Showroom, we’ve been blown away by the shifts in the industry, and the willingness of everyone to band together to save the thing we all love. Modern Films are a film company we have worked with on a number of films in recent years. Having only launched in 2017, the female-lead company offer a production and distribution model that focusses on creating connections with a particular emphasis on pressing social issues through the power of cinema.
When cinemas closed, Modern Films adapted quickly to build a new home for the films they had in cinemas at the time. They now have an established streaming platform where you can pay to rent one film at a time (no subscription). The best thing about it (in my, incredibly biased opinion) is that Modern Films have also chosen to partner with independent cinemas across the UK, splitting 50% of the fee, and giving viewers the opportunity to choose where they want their money to go. They are also working with a range of other independent film distributors, so you can see the latest titles - the things we would be showing if we were open - and support us financially. And there are some real sparklers on there - I’d recommend taking a look at Viggo Mortenson’s directorial debut Falling, which was just released last Friday, or the gorgeously meditative Luxor, which stars Andrea Riseborough.
This article first featured in the Sheffield Telegraph on Thursday 10 December 2020.