Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Palace seeks independent films

The rumours aren't - repeat aren't - true that Windsor's downtown Palace Cinemas is closing or will close at the expiration of the current lease, which is some time off anyway. Yes, says owner Chris Woodall, he'd like to get "more bums in the seats" for the fourplex and management is working on that. Under former owner Jim Shaban (who sold the Palace and Lakeshore Cinemas a year and a half ago) there was at least a nod to screening independent cinema even if many films didn't get shown. Shaban turned the cinema over to the Windsor International Film Festival (WIFF) after all. This year WIFF consolidated at the Capitol Theatre downtown. Woodall says his contract with major film distributors prevents him from screening independent or arthouse films. "We're controlled fairly tightly by the major distributors as to what we can and can't show." But that's not to say there's isn't a way around it. He says the Palace has a "new younger manager" and is working on ways to market to groups who might be interested in seeing non-mainstream films, or even cult classics, at the veneable theatre, which dates back decades despite its modern makeover. This could include things like having a student group book a screening room as a charity or fundraiser. "We bring in a film that's not yet on DVD release but is out of print, out of first run and let them sell the tickets," he said. One-off screeenings could be held outside peak times such as Sundays or Monday evenings. Woodall said the charities would make money and the theatre would receive concession revenue. "And raise awareness of the options downtown" of course, he said.

1 comment:

  1. This is a bit of bullshit on Woodall's part about being restricted to what he can show - I know for a fact he inquired to WIFF's programmer about what independent films to bring in. The fact is, he doesn't know a thing about that type of film and is biased. Which is sad because it's an independent theatre and should be able to be able to make it's bread and butter off offering films not available anywhere else in the city instead of offering a more limited selection of what is already available at the mall. Business sense 101 - don't offer what your competitors are offering in an inferior environment. Woodall is full of the mainstream paranoia that showing anything that isn't hte box office top 10 will result in people running away from his theatre.
    I hope the new manager takes the bull by the horns, gets WIFF on board to at least sponser whatever screenings they have and advise them on what to bring in and give Windsor a ***much*** needed alternative cinema.