Independent Movie Theaters, like Parkway Theater, hope streaming keeps them going through the outbreak

By March 27, 2020 One Comment

The Whistlers (Magnolia Pictures)

By Charlie Deitch
Pittsburgh Current Editor

Two of the industries hit hardest by the coronavirus outbreak are bars and movie theaters. Unfortunately for Aaron Stubna, his Parkway Theater is both.

“We’re getting it both ways,” says Stubna, the owner/operator of the McKees Rocks brewhouse/movie theater. “It’s been really tough for us, but film streaming is a creative way to help us out; it allows our patrons to support us.”

For the past couple of weeks, Stubna has been offering links to films (normally in the $6-12 range) on the theater’s Facebook Page or website. When you go through the link the independent theater makes half the proceeds.

The exception being the two films Parkway is debuting this afternoon. The two films, distributed by Magnolia Pictures are Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band and The Whistlers, a crime thriller from Romania. If you watch the film through Parkway’s link, the theater will get 100 percent of the proceeds until April 2.

Stubna has been struggling since the coronavirus shutdown like a lot of businesses that rely on large groups of people gathering. A patron sent him an article from Vox on theater’s using film streaming to help stay afloat. From there he started making calls.

“Nobody was contacting me, so I called one of the theater’s mentioned in the article, the Guild Theater in New Mexico and I said, ‘how are you getting these great films?’” Stubna said. “I also reached out to other small theaters as well. We’re all unique and in the same boat, so we’ve been helping each other out.

“People are buying movies anyway, so we’re hoping they will support independent theaters by watching movies through us instead of clicking that on-demand button.”

The link for the two new films will be posted later this afternoon and more films are available on the theater’s website. See trailers and reviews of the films below.


The Whistlers

Description: Cristi, a Romanian police officer who is a whistle blower for mafia, is going to La Gomera Island to learn an ancestral whistling language. In Romania he is under police surveillance and by using this coded language he will continue to communicate with the mobsters to get Zsolt out of prison. Zsolt is the only one who knows where 30 millions in Euros are hidden.

Critic’s Take:That a Romanian film would suggest all men are corruptible and all systems are rotten to the core is not a surprise, given the way this particular movement has implicitly/explicitly used the repercussions of living under longtime constant repression as its primary subject. That it would do so in the form of Elmore Leonard-lite crime story, however, is a shock. A pleasant, pleasurable shock.” David Fear, Rolling Stone.




Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band

Description: The story of a band that went from backing up Bob Dylan to becoming one of the most influential groups of its era.

Critic’s Take: “A new documentary, Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band, directed by Daniel Roher, is a warm, poignant take on The Band’s story — again, as the subtitle suggests, from Robertson’s point of view.” Lauren Onkey, NPR.

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