Movie theaters are part of the foundation for the mega-industry that is the film and entertainment business. With many theaters having to close their doors due to the ongoing international pandemic, there are many concerns of what will happen to the movie industry. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with founder, executive director, and curator Logan Crow from The Frida in Santa Ana. The Frida Cinema is a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching, connecting, and educating communities through the art of cinema.
In what ways has Covid 19 changed your operations and what are some of the ways your theater has adjusted? As we were growing closer to the reality of the theater being closed due to COVID-19, we had to, like many other arthouse cinemas across the country, make an incredibly fast pivot to online streaming to keep any form of operations going.
Our staff, supported by a wonderful group of interns working from home, have been working on opening new films in our Virtual Cinema each week. It’s sort of remarkable how much technology has allowed us to work forward — apps for team communication, apps for project tracking, apps for streaming films, apps and software for our streaming Q&A’s and fundraisers. The continued sense of structure our team has continued to be able to have, despite not being psychically together, has allowed us the freedom to explore even more avenues of staying involved within the community — the most notable example of which is the recent launch of our Pop-Up Drive-In screening series.
To Check Out the Cinema Home Page
Live streaming has become essential for entertainment, can you tell us about your Virtual Screening Room and some of the movies we can expect to see?
On any given week, we have a dozen or so films available for streaming in our Virtual Cinema. Films being programmed are generally first-run picks that were due for theatrical release this year, but we throw in the occasional repertory film, particularly if a new restoration is being distributed. I have to put a special spotlight on an amazing new Japanese film from Oscilloscope Films called We Are Little Zombies, which will be streaming on our site starting Friday, July 10th.
We Are Little Zombies Trailer | Streaming July 10th
It’s one of the best films I’ve seen in a long while, and a serious can’t miss. Great gems like this won’t be getting the theatrical release they deserve, so we do everything we can to champion these smaller productions by not only offering them for streaming through our site, but doing everything we can to promote them across our social media platforms.
The “Drive-In Theater” has regained popularity as a safer means of getting out for some entertainment. The Frida’s showing of The Princess Bride at the Muckenthaler Center looked like a great success! Can you tell us about the experience and if we can expect more Drive-In movie showings from the Frida?
We drew an incredible response for our Drive-In screenings at The Muckenthaler Center. This has opened the door to many great partnerships, as we recently held successful Drive-In screenings of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory at Zion Lutheran Church & School, and To Kill A Mockingbird right in Downtown Santa Ana!
To Kill a Mockingbird | Downtown Santa Ana
It’s been a great way for us to stay engaged within the community, and we’ve been working hard behind the scenes to bring our Pop-up Drive-Ins to other venues. Stay tuned on our social media pages for more info about upcoming Drive-Ins! We’ll be announcing some new locations in the days ahead!
Willy Wonka | Zion Lutheran Church & School
Now that we’re seeing a few businesses reopen in Orange County, is there a timeline of when we can expect to see movies at the Frida again?
That’s an increasingly frustrating mystery. So just a few days ago our team finally selected a reopening date — and just one day later, we received some discouraging news regarding our county’s general position towards ensuring we are all doing everything we can to slow the spread of this disease, and we unanimously decided that, at least for a while, setting any sort of a potential opening date would be useless.
Earlier this week, Disneyland announced that their own advertised reopening date would have to be postponed — a decision as completely sensible as it was sadly inevitable given the circumstances. Disney said “Our first priority is to ensure the safety of our patrons, staff, and family of volunteers. Our organization’s mission is To enrich, connect, and educate communities through the art of cinema — and we take the “community” part of that very seriously. We would be doing our community a disservice if we opened before we were as confident as we could be that their experience at The Frida wouldn’t put them at risk of illness. So for now, we don’t have a timeframe or expected re-opening date, as much as we all seriously miss being at our second home. We are, though, already investing in materials and infrastructure to ensure that when we do re-open, it will be with the utmost attention and focus on the safety of our guests.”
The Frida is a cornerstone of art and film in Orange County, in what ways can someone help the Frida?
Renting a film on our Virtual Cinema is a fantastic way to support us, as you get to watch a great new movie while supporting your community non-profit art house cinema! We are also working on more Drive-In screenings at various venues in Orange County — readers, if you have an empty space or venue that you think would make a great space for a night of cinema, please contact us! And of course, tax-deductible donations are vital.
Please visit the donation page to make a contribution. Now more than ever, the support of arts and cinema lovers in our community is essential to our survival.