The Rose returns with streaming movies from its site

Posted 4/15/20

The Rose Theatre is back in the business of presenting independent films to local audiences, but this time, with an online twist.

The Rose is offering would-be patrons both near and far the …

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The Rose returns with streaming movies from its site

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The Rose Theatre is back in the business of presenting independent films to local audiences, but this time, with an online twist.

The Rose is offering would-be patrons both near and far the opportunity to stream films from distributors. As of April 10, the Rose was offering five films from four distributors–Magnolia Pictures, Oscilloscope Laboratories, Greenwich Entertainment and Icarus Films—but Rose Theatre owner Rocky Friedman expected both the numbers of films and distributors to double within the following week.

“I’m hardly a trailblazer in this case,” Friedman said. “A number of other independent theaters have already done this. One distributor contacted me, and I contacted a few others. One of them wasn’t yet participating, so I asked them to reconsider.”

A portion of the proceeds from streaming sales will benefit the Rose. All streaming tickets are $12, with 50% of the online viewing fees returned to the Rose by the distributors. Most films may be rented for up to three days.

“It’s beneficial to the income streams of both small theaters and small distributors,” Friedman said. “I appreciate all the distributors who are willing to make this gesture on our behalf. The response has been really positive, and while I’m only expecting modest revenues to come from it, it’s better than no revenue at all.”

With the possibility of seven or eight distributors offering as many as eight to 10 films the week after April 10 through the Rose’s website at rosetheatre.com, Friedman is not only eager to get back into the “fun” of screening films for the public, but he could wind up showing more than twice as many movies as the Rose typically screens at one time within a given week.

“I am having to wrap my brain around the idea that the Rose is more of a mini-version of Netflix now,” Friedman said. “The films we receive should remain online for several weeks, but once you click to purchase and start streaming, you have 72 hours to watch that film. Still, it affords me some semblance of still running a movie theater,” he laughed.

Of the Rose’s initial slate of films, Friedman expressed the most fondness for the 2019 dramedy “Saint Frances,” which he said “tackles a potential mind-field of subjects with honesty and authenticity.” Friedman’s daughter, who runs the Rose’s social media accounts, spotlit the 2018 documentary “The Times of Bill Cunningham,” about the photographer and fashion historian of the same name, on the Rose Theatre’s Facebook page.

Among the other 2019 documentaries, “Slay the Dragon” examines gerrymandering in the United States, while “The Cordillera of Dreams” completes filmmaker Patricio Guzmán's trilogy—with “Nostalgia for the Light” and “The Pearl Button”—investigating the relationship between historical memory, political trauma and geography in his native country of Chile.

The fifth film is the return of “Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band” to the Rose, which was positively reviewed in the March 4, 2020, issue of The Leader.

Although Friedman hopes audiences will support the Rose and its partner distributors, he’s also happy to point film buffs to other resources, including the all-free Library of Congress, the free 14-day trial period for the Criterion Channel, and Netflix by subscription.

“The third Port Townsend Dance Film Festival was to have taken place last weekend, and just as soon as we reopen, it will be rescheduled,” Friedman said, adding that the Madrona MindBody Institute, the Rose’s premiere dance festival sponsor, is now offering online-at-home classes via Zoom.

Friedman described these as “challenging times,” with artists such as filmmakers left in an especially precarious position by the societal and economic upheaval.

“Our existence can be so fragile, and the internet has been a life raft for so many people,” Friedman said.

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