Press release: On April 4, 2017, The Frida Cinema joins almost 90 art house movie theaters across the country in 79 cities and in 34 states, plus one location in Canada, in participating collectively in a National Event Day screening of the film 1984. This date was chosen because it's the day novelist George Orwell's protagonist Winston Smith begins rebelling against his oppressive government by keeping a forbidden diary.
These theaters owners strongly believe in supporting the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and see any attempt to scuttle that program as an attack on free speech and creative expression through entertainment. This event provides a chance for communities around the country to show their unity and have their voices heard.
In a joint statement on behalf of all of the theaters involved in this event: "Orwell's novel begins with the sentence, 'It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.' Less than one month into the new presidential administration, theater owners collectively believe the clock is already striking thirteen. Orwell's portrait of a government that manufactures their own facts, demands total obedience, and demonizes foreign enemies, has never been timelier. The endeavor encourages theaters to take a stand for our most basic values: freedom of speech, respect for our fellow human beings, and the simple truth that there are no such things as 'alternative facts.' By doing what they do best - showing a movie - the goal is that cinemas can initiate a much-needed community conversation at a time when the existence of facts, and basic human rights are under attack. Through nationwide participation and strength in numbers, these screenings are intended to galvanize people at the crossroads of cinema and community, and bring us together to foster communication and resistance against current efforts to undermine the most basic tenets of our society."
Starring the great John Hurt - an accomplished actor who we lost just last month - 1984 is a dystopian tale which centers around Winston Smith, a man enduring a squalid existence in the totalitarian superstate of Oceania under the constant surveillance of the Thought Police. The story takes place in London, the capital city of the territory of Airstrip One (formerly "either England or Britain"). Winston works in the Records Department in the Ministry of Truth; his job is to rewrite and distort history. As a way to rebel and escape Big Brother's tyranny, at least in his own mind, he begins a diary -an act punishable by death. After he begins an illicit affair with Julia, a bold subversive fellow Member of the Outer Party (middle class), Winston soon finds himself on a dangerous path filled with shocking revelations about the Inner Party (the Fascist controlling party, architects of the infamous surveillance system Big Brother), such as their mass implementation of a strategy called "doublethink" - the practice of holding two contradictory thoughts in the mind simultaneously (alternative facts...).
All participating theaters will be donating a portion of the proceeds to local charities and organizations. The Frida Cinema has selected Santa Ana's Public Law Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit which provides free legal services to low income residents and other nonprofits in Orange County. In 2014, Public Law Center staff and volunteers provided over 67,000 hours of free legal services - including to The Frida Cinema - in handling over 4,600 cases, and benefitted more than 8,000 low-income children, adults and seniors in Orange County. The value of this work is $22 million in that year alone. Their work includes counseling, individual representation, community education and strategic policy advocacy and impact litigation to challenge societal injustices.
Tickets are The Frida Cinema's standard $10 General Admission; $8 for Students, Senior Citizens, Military, and Children; and $7 for Film Club Members.