Network of leading independent cinemas support freedom of expression with request to screen controversial title
Art House Convergence, the national coalition of independent art house cinemas in America has set up a petition for independent exhibitors to pledge their support of Sony for a theatrical release of THE INTERVIEW.
“Your Art House motion picture colleagues wish to support you and your company,” said Russ Collins, Director of the Art House Convergence, in his open letter to Sony’s Michael Lynton and Amy Pascal. “Circumstance has propelled THE INTERVIEW into a spotlight on values, both societal and artistic, and in honor of our support, we want to offer our help in a way that honors our long tradition of defending creative expression.”
The petition, which can be found at http://www.change.org/p/sony-we-the-undersigned-support-sony reads as follows:
We, the independent art house community, specifically the theaters below, express our support for Sony Pictures and all of its employees worldwide in this difficult time. We want to share our encouragement and appreciation for Sony and the great contributions it has made to the film industry, especially to our sector of art houses and independent cinemas.
On December 16th, the Terrorist Organization, “The Guardians of Peace,” escalated their threats by promising terrorist attacks against cinemas showing THE INTERVIEW. “The world will be full of fear,” their message read, “Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.)”
With this threat, the issue became larger than any film, larger than Sony and larger than the entertainment industry: societal and artistic values are in peril. We are at an important crossroads with an opportunity to reaffirm clearly our dedication to the value of freedom and the absolute necessity to keep our film industry free of restriction, censorship and violent intimidation. We implore our fellow exhibitors and our nation of moviegoers to stand up in recognition that freedom of speech and artistic expression are vital not only to the entertainment industry but for all art and commerce worldwide.
We stand in solidarity with Sony and offer our support to them in defense of artistic integrity and personal freedoms; freedoms which represent our nation’s great ability to effect change and embrace diversity of opinion.
We understand there are risks involved in screening THE INTERVIEW. We will communicate these risks as clearly as we can to our employees and customers and allow them to make their own decisions, as is the right of every American. Understanding those risks, the undersigned, independent cinema owners and operators of America under the banner of the Art House Convergence, do hereby agree to support Sony and to support theatrical engagements of THE INTERVIEW should Sony, at its sole discretion, decide to release it to theaters.
About the Art House Convergence:
In 2008, the first Art House Convergence, an industry educational program designed to empower and inform independent cinemas nationwide, was presented. It grew out of a collaboration with the Sundance Institute Art House Project in 2006. Now in its eighth year, the growth of the Art House Convergence and its development of research, surveys and year round communication among art house theaters affirm that the organization has evolved into a leading national resource for the support of independent exhibitors and the promotion of film culture in local communities. For more information about Art House Convergence visit www.arthouseconvergence.org