Just like restaurants switched to carryout, and musicians started to livestream, The Neon changed gears after it was forced to close its doors in March because of the coronavirus.
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“Even though our doors are closed for the time being, we want to continue bringing great cinema to you. Now you can still support us by watching one of our award-winning offerings at home,” Jonathan McNeal, the theater’s manager, wrote to supporters.
Three new films will have their “virtual openings” at The Neon this week.
First is "Driveways," a film starring Hong Chau and Brian Dennehy about a single mother, her shy son, and an unlikely friendship that is forged with the gruff Korean War veteran who lives next door. Audiences will be given 72-hour access to "Driveways" for $12 beginning on Wednesday, May 13, by visiting The Neon's website.
Second, The Neon will be offering a virtual viewing of "Slay the Dragon," a documentary about gerrymandering and the activists who are fighting for democracy ahead of the 2020 election. Beginning on Wednesday, May 13, guests will be able to have 72-hour access to the timely documentary for only $6.99.
And finally, viewers can watch a third film, "Up From the Streets: New Orleans: The City of Music," that features personal reflections from the city's most influential musicians, including Terence Blanchard, Harry Connick Jr, Wynton Marsalis, Mannie Fresh and Dr. Michael White. The documentary about the musical spirit of New Orleans also features commentary by national and international musicians along with archival and newly filmed performances by iconic artists such as Louis Armstrong, Mahalia Jackson, Professor Longhair, Fats Domino, Allen Toussaint and The Neville Brothers. The link to watch this film will become available on Friday, May 15. Customers will gain 72-hour access to the film for $12. Every download will provide a $2 donation to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation COVID-19 relief fund for musicians.
Visit The Neon's website after that date to find the link to the rental site.
Ask a director
Looking for even more ways to indulge in indie cinema? Don’t worry - The Neon has quite the treat for its loyal patrons.
Beginning on Friday, May 15, The Neon is partnering with Magnolia Pictures to revisit some of their favorite documentaries with opportunities to ask the directors of the films a few questions. Each week, The Neon will be streaming one of these documentaries for just $5. Then, on the following Wednesday, patrons can attend a live virtual Q&A with the film’s director. Those who wish to ask questions will be able to submit your questions in advance. When you get access to the film, you will also be invited to that film’s Q&A event. Ten percent of all proceeds from this event will go to a charity of the filmmaker’s choice.
Here is the lineup for this interactive event:
- May 15: "RBG" virtual showing with a Q&A on Wednesday, May 20 with directors Betsy West and Julie Cohen, moderated by Melena Ryzik of the New York Times.
- May 22: "Life Itself" virtual showing with a Q&A on Wednesday, May 27 with Chaz Ebert in conversation with director Steve James.
- May 29: "Blackfish" virtual showing with a Q&A on Wednesday, June 3 with director Gabriela Cowperthwaite.
- June 5: "Hail Satan" virtual showing with a Q&A on Wednesday, June 10 with director Penny Lane in conversation with Lucien Greaves, head of The Satanic Temple.
There will be links to purchase virtual viewings of these films on The Neon’s website.
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Visit www.neonmovies.com for more details about the current lineup of movies and pricing. You can also learn more at the theater's Facebook page.
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Renting these films also supports The Neon, Dayton’s cherished independent, nonprofit cinema, which is the only place to watch movies downtown.
If you want to show your support for The Neon in other ways, you can also make tax-deductible donations. Simply mail a check to The Neon, 130 E. 5th St., Dayton, OH 45402. They'll make sure you get a receipt for your records.