The Oriental Theatre is closed until further notice. But the nonprofit that runs the historic theater, Milwaukee Film, has just launched a new streaming service. Sofa Cinema is exactly what it sounds like. An online portal that allows film lovers to download and rent critically acclaimed contemporary films from the comfort of their own homes.
“Closing our cinema doesn’t mean closing off access to inspiring, intriguing and entertaining films,” Jonathan Jackson, the organization’s CEO and artistic director, said in a recent press release. “Sofa Cinema is a way for us all to experience film together, even while we’re apart.”
New titles will be added to the curated lineup every Friday. Saint Frances, a dramedy about a harried nanny who finds out she’s pregnant, is one of the offerings this week. Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band – a biopic about the musician’s stratospherically successful career – is also available. And Fantastic Fungi, a documentary that’s being co-presented by the Wisconsin Mycological Society, is available both to buy and rent.
On April 10, Bacurau – a Brazilian thriller that won a 2019 Cannes Jury Prize – will join the lineup.
The prices for all of the offerings are set by the films’ distributors and currently range from $4.99 to $12. A portion of each sale will go to Milwaukee Film.
The rental periods and streaming platforms also vary.
“It’s been incredible to see the industry come together to maake innovations like Sofa Cinema possible,” Jackson noted in the same press release. “This virtual cinema is certainly not a substitute for the experience of the Oriental Theatre, but I’m excited to see our Milwaukee Film community enjoy these amazing films.”