Los Feliz is home to two of the most beloved movie theaters in all of Los Angeles. These are the Los Feliz Theatre on Vermont and The Vista Theatre on Sunset. Just like over 150 independent movie theaters across the country, these two are currently closed as part of the nation-wide social distancing efforts. Like other small businesses, they are bound to have trouble. In an effort to help many of these theaters through this time, the Criterion Collection, along with other film organizations, have set up a fundraiser for a relief fund. The money raised is meant to support help these theaters pay their staff and bills and, essentially, survive through this pandemic until they are able to open once more.
The State of Small Movie Theaters
If you live in any American city of a reasonable size, you’re probably familiar with two kinds of movie theaters. These are the big chains you find everywhere and the small independent movie theaters. You probably also know that these latter ones tend to struggle to survive. Without corporate funding behind them, these theaters rely on their regular audiences to keep going. That’s why it is feared that some of them might not be able to make it through these closures. In a recent essay for The Washington Post, Christopher Nolan, famed director of Inception and The Dark Knight, urged the moviegoing population of the country to help movie theaters during this time. “Movie theaters have gone dark,” he says, “and will stay that way for a time. But movies, unlike unsold produce or unearned interest, don’t cease to be of value. Much of this short-term loss is recoverable.”
Supporting Independent Theaters
Movie theaters are a vital part of our social life, particularly in cultural hubs such as Los Angeles. There are so many independent theaters in the city that just about anyone can find one near their home. We will need them to still be there when this has passed. If anything, we’ll want to seek out the escapism that comes with them. On their GoFundMe, you can donate to the Art-House America Campaign to support theaters through this time. If you can’t, the alternative is simple! Head over to your local theater when all this is over. As Nolan said in his essay, “when this crisis passes, the need for collective human engagement, the need to live and love and laugh and cry together, will be more powerful than ever.”