After more than a year of mandated closure, Laemmle Theatres is reopening on Friday. Tickets are up for sale and we have a bouquet of wonderful films to see and share as they were meant to be seen and shared …on the big screen! We can do this safely because we are following epidemiologist-approved #CinemaSafe protocols, including reserved seating to ensure physical distancing. We’ve revamped our ticketing system to allow for reserved seating, and you are now able to choose your seats on our site or, if you prefer, at our box offices beginning Friday. We have created step-by-step how-to instructions for those new to online ticketing. You can check out the guide here and we’ll have printed copies available at the theaters.
Friday also marks the opening (not reopening) of our brand-spanking-new Laemmle Newhall Theater, which was completed during the pandemic. We are thrilled to bring great movies to northern L.A. County, and happy for all the SCV residents who will no longer have to make the long drive to Encino or NoHo for non-mainstream films. For those who would like to join in the opening, we will be livestreaming the ribbon cutting ceremony which is scheduled to take place at 11:00 AM on Friday morning. You’ll also be able to see patrons coming for our first set of shows. For details, please join the theatre’s Facebook followers here (https://www.facebook.com/laemmlenewhall) for all updates on this new venue.
Among the films you’ll get to enjoy are many of the 2021 Oscar nominees, including three of the Best International Film nominees, ANOTHER ROUND with Mads Mikkelsen, QUO VADIS, AIDA? from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and THE MAN WHO SOLD HIS SKIN from Tunisian-born director Kaouther Ben Hania. COLLECTIVE, nominated for both Best International Film and Best Documentary is coming next week. We also have two of the Best Feature Documentary nominees, MY OCTOPUS TEACHER and CRIP CAMP, five of the Best Picture nominees, NOMADLAND, MANK, MINARI, PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN and SOUND OF METAL, and all of the Oscar-nominated Live Action, Animated, and Documentary shorts. We are also opening the magical WOLFWALKERS, nominated for Best Animated Feature. Among the non-Oscar contenders are FRENCH EXIT, featuring a never-better Michelle Pfeiffer; the gorgeous Italian-set documentary, THE TRUFFLE HUNTERS; the intimate portrait of the gifted pop star BILLIE EILISH: THE WORLD’S A LITTLE BLURRY; the intense gay-themed South African drama MOFFIE; and the French film SLALOM, a drama set in the world of downhill racing. And if you’re in the mood for some monster movie escapism, we’ve got that for you too with the spectacular GODZILLA VS. KONG.
For those who are still unsure about returning to indoor public spaces, I want you to know that we are still offering films for streaming via the Laemmle Virtual Cinema platform. In fact, a number of the films that we have in theatre this weekend will also be available for at-home viewing. But a few titles that are only available via VOD include MALNI – TOWARDS THE OCEAN, TOWARDS THE SHORE, GRANNY NANNY, THE MALI-CUBA CONNECTION/AFRICA MIA, IT’S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD, LOOKING FOR A LADY WITH FANGS AND A MOUSTACHE, and 15 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT BIGFOOT. I hope you’ll check them out.
The pandemic has been hard. Hard for businesses that had to be closed. Hard for the essential workers who kept things going while risking their health. And hardest for those who lost loved ones, had to endure illness, and are still dealing with lingering health issues caused by the virus. If we’re sounding upbeat, please know that we don’t want to paper over any of that pain and grief. But things really do seem to be improving here in L.A. Vaccinations are up. Infections are down. And by and large, people are still following guidelines about continuing to mask up and maintain social distancing. The time is right to slowly and safely begin to return to public spaces, and we aim to be part of that long-sought “return to normalcy.”
Thank you for all the support over the months of the pandemic, and I look forward to seeing you soon at the movies.