Magazine article Variety

Brooklyn Venue Raises the Bar for Indies

Magazine article Variety

Brooklyn Venue Raises the Bar for Indies

Article excerpt

Last year at Sundance, "Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same" garnered raves from many critics, but after more than 50 festival appearances and a "Best Film Not Paying at a Theater Near You" nom at the Gotham Independent Film Awards, the comedy still doesn't have a distributor.

And it didn't have a commercial release until its weeklong run at Brooklyn's reRun Gastropub Theater in early January; that's crucial, because a oneweek Gotham run guarantees a film a New York Times review, a key selling point for garnering ancillary deals and further theatrical bookings. (Variety also reviews most films that run at the reRun, either at the venue, or previously, at festivals.)

At a time when fests tout record-high distributor pickups, the reality is most are straightto-VOD, -DVD or -online venues. The reRun is among the only theaters in the U.S. that provides newfound theatrical and ancillary opportunities to films without a distrib.

"Now that the reRun Theater is open, it feels like most (American indie) films at the big U.S. festivals can at least get a one-week run and a New York Tunes review," notes Roadside Attractions acquisitions and business affairs veep Dustin Smith. Since its July 2010 debut, the funky venue in Brooklyn's Dumbo neighborhood(located Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) has offered the first paid theatrical runs to "Codependent Lesbian" and four other Sundance features, three Slamdance films, nearly two dozen SXSW entries and other festival films - all booked without theatrical distributors or the high cost of four-walling. Outfitted with 60 reclaimed car seats, reRun has a 12-foot screen and is situated inside the reBar restaurant. Both venues were designed by their owner, Jason Stevens.

With in-theater dining and free-flowing booze as bait, reRun - along with indieScreen and Nitehawk Cinema, two other new theaters in nearby Williamsburg, another hipster neighborhood - are also bringing tastemaker audiences to high-profile niche films.

Several theaters around the country have tried turning the arthouse cinema into a bar, dining and entertainment space, notably Austin's Alamo Drafthouse and San Francisco's Foreign Cinema Manhattan has long given filmmakers the chance to four-wall their pics at downtown venues like the Quad Cinema and Cinema Village. …

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