Last month, we published an article titled Art House Theaters In Florida Perform Vanishing Act, in which we expressed concern about the diminishing number of art house theaters in Florida, and how this can affect future screenings of independent and low budget films in the state.
The possibility of having less independent films screened locally, hit home once more when we realized that the Irish-Canadian indie film Room starring Brie Larson, and based on the novel by Irish writer Emma Donoghue, was nowhere to be found in the schedules of Florida theaters from Miami to Tallahassee. With the exception of the Stonzek Theater in Lake Worth which will show the film starting December 18 for a one week run, Room was largely ignored by local theaters which is disconcerting since it was recently announced as a Golden Globe nominee.
We are left to ponder why an independent film that has been praised on multiple occasions by film critics hasn’t premiered in Florida theaters with more fanfare. It’s possible that the upcoming premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens also on December 18, deterred larger chain cinemas as well as smaller venues in Florida from taking a gamble with an independent film.
Charlie Birnbaum, manager of the Stonzek Theater was surprised to know that Room was only going to be screened here, at least for the month of December. “I would have thought more theaters would be interested in showing it”, Birnbaum said. “It’s gotten great reviews everywhere, so I’m surprised no one else has taken an interest.” Additionally, he stated that it is always difficult to know what the audience will like in terms of independent films, particularly in the West Palm Beach area. “Lots of times, I book films thinking that the audience will love them and nobody shows up,” he said. “You just never know with this audience.”
It is a possibility that after the anticipated world premiere of Star Wars, theaters will begin to screen the films that are rumored to be strong Golden Globe and possibly Oscar contenders. Room certainly deserves more screening space in local movie theaters, as do other independent film festival winners such as Heart of Dog, The Salt Of The Earth, and those to be released in 2016: From Afar, A Bigger Splash, and the stop-motion animation feature Anomalisa, just to name a few.