The Rep: A Documentary About Repertory Cinema

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The Rep Documentary

“[The Rep is] a documentary about disappearing independent and repertory cinemas [that] has found a perfect home for its Canadian Premiere: Vancouver’s Rio Theatre.”

Morgan White’s The Rep chronicles a year in the life of three friends and hardcore cinephiles who decide to open and operate the Toronto Underground Cinema. Though The Rep began life as a web series chronicling the trio’s struggle, White soon realized that the over-arching story was, “bigger and deepend than a web series could tell.” The film covers more than just the saga of one repertory theatre, and delves deep into issues ranging from changes in cinematic consumption, the importance of the collective cinema-going experience, and the need for the preservation of historical theatres that are closing their doors forever in communities (including Vancouver’s own Hollywood Theatre, The Ridge, and The Granville 7) across North America.

The Rep includes featured commentary with theatre programmers from Film Forum in New York City, The Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, The New Beverly Cinema in L.A., The Hollywood Theatre in Portland, The  Bijou Art Cinemas in Eugene and Blue Sunshine in Montreal as well as filmmakers George Romero, Kevin Smith, John Waters, Atom Egoyan, Bruce McDonald, and more!

White’s marketing of the film is both notable and noble: He has publicly enlisted repertory cinema fans to encourage their local venues to screen the film, and has committed 100% of the film’s profits to any indie theatre that screens it. “It seemed silly to take money for a film about the preservation of  theatres,” he explains. “The cinematic experience is a big deal to me as a cinephile and a filmmaker. This is my way of giving back.”
After White, a self-described “movie nerd,” moved to Toronto from a small town in Ontario, he fell in love with repertory cinema. “I loved the whole [repertory] concept, and I think that first summer I was in Toronto I went to the movies 45 times! It’s pretty much my entire identity,” he laughs. “I really wanted to put that feeling of repertory cinema in the movie.”
Rio Theatre owner Corinne Lea says, “It feels amazing to have our plight recognized by other people in the industry… that someone would take action in a way that would benefit theatres is impressive and appreciated. Everybody talks about how ‘sad’ it is to lose movie theatres and how they’re an ‘endangered species,’ but someone putting money behind their action shows me that people really do care.”
Says White, “If I could change two people’s minds about getting up off the couch and out to see a movie at their local indie theatre instead of watching it at home, then I’ve done my job. I really want to help them.”
The Rep debuted at the Austin Film Festival in 2012, and will screen at the Winnipeg Cinematheque in April following its Canadian Premiere at the Rio Theatre.

The Rep Screening Times

April 1: 4 p.m. (all ages), 7 p.m., and 9:30 p.m.

April 2, 4, 7 and 9: 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

For more information check out The Rep’s official website, and Rio Theatre’s website, Twitter page and Facebook event page. To purchase tickets visit this website.

Feature Image Credit: http://therepseries.com/

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Nagin Rezaiean General Columnist at Vancity Buzz.

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