reRun is back! The indie cinema-gastropub inside of DUMBO’s reBar opened in 2010, but this June programmer Aaron Hillis announced he would step down and the space would close. We figured that was that, but now it’s reopening thanks to a new collaboration between the restaurant and the Independent Filmmaker Project, which among other things publishes Filmmaker magazine. They host their kickoff party tonight, though they’ve already begun screening movies: the terrific Girl Walk // All Day has been showing since Friday. We spoke to IFP’s Dan Schoenbrun, who’s helping to manage the initiative.
I thought reRun was done! What happened?
Quite simply, it’s too perfect a space to stay vacant for long. The New York City theatrical market is incredibly competitive. Most large movie theaters will only work with the major distributors, and a lot of the smaller art houses charge huge four-walling fees to filmmakers who want to screen there. reRun doesn’t charge anything, and they’re open to screening self-distributed films that wouldn’t otherwise get a chance to open theatrically in New York. That’s what’s made the theater invaluable to the Brooklyn arts community—its daring, egalitarian programming choices. And that’s what drew IFP and Filmmaker magazine to the theater. We have a long-standing mission to support voices that might not otherwise be heard, and that’s just what we plan to do at reRun.
Why are we seeing more small, unconventional theaters like reRun?
Because people have more ways than ever to consume content. Why go out to a movie theater when you can stay in and rent a film on VOD, buy it on iTunes, or hey—just download it on Bit Torrent? Because there’s something quite special about sitting in a room with a group of friends and film lovers and experiencing art communally. Both IFP and reRun are huge proponents of the communal filmgoing experience—of turning each theatrical showing into a unique, unforgettable event. reRun always opens their bar 45 minutes before showtime, and loves it when audiences show up early to hang out, get to know one another, and talk about film. And whenever possible, we pair each screening with Q&As, live performances, or other one-off events. It’s all in an effort to make the theatrical experience something that audiences participate in and become a part of.
Is DUMBO a good spot for a theater like yours?
IFP has been in DUMBO for four years now, and there’s honestly nowhere else like it in NYC. The number of great storytellers here—of creative and technological pioneers—is staggering. We’ve got a rapidly growing community of artists and innovators—which is why we’re building our new Made in NY Media Center in DUMBO as well—and that’s why reRun thrives here. We know that the DUMBO creative community—and the independent film community—will come out to support these films and filmmakers. But we also hope that through our bold programming choices and dedicated grassroots marketing efforts that we can help these artists reach new communities in New York and beyond.
The former programmer Aaron Hillis mostly booked festival-circuit stuff without another means of distribution in New York. Will you be programming it differently?
Our only curatorial mandate is to program a slate of films as diverse and exciting as possible. That will certainly mean festival films that haven’t been acquired for theatrical distribution, but it will also mean international favorites, documentaries, even web, trans-media, and television content. Our first three weeks of programming take us on a frenzied dance across the five boroughs, Girl Walk // All Day, which opened on November 2 and which brilliantly uses the entirety of Girl Talk’s All Day album as its soundtrack. Then to the gorgeous but conflict-ridden shores of 1980s South Africa with the surfing drama Otelo Burning, opening for a week of buzz screenings on November 9. And then a classic love story set in the Gaza Strip, Habibi, opening November 16. We hope that these films will serve as an indication that we’re open to programming any and all types of work, as long as they’re unique, exciting, and in need of a loving home.