I had the opportunity to see Lance Hammer's Ballast on Sunday night at the Laemmle Sunset 5. It is a wonderful film and as you probably know - Lance eschewed the standard distribution deals he was offered and decided to self distribute. I had a chance to talk with him after the screening to compare war stories and we both agreed that there needs to be a paradigm shift on the definition of ''theatrical".
"Theatrical" is the industry term for the first "window" of a release normally in movie theaters where they are screened for at least a week starting on a Friday night. This is a very limiting notion of what a theatrical experience should be and has the potential to constrain our own imagination of what constitutes a theatrical experience.
Lance and I both agreed that some of our best screenings were in non-theatrical venues. Usually the film is screened for one or two nights and is promoted as a special event - which helps to pack the house.
We also agreed that we as filmmakers need to create a database of such venues similar to the Workbook Projects Theatrical Mapping Project. Eventually we should combine theatrical and non theatrical lists - but currently they need to be approached in slightly different ways - so I feel it is best to keep the lists separate for a little while.
Lance and I have agreed to cull our own information but we could use your help.
If you know of any non traditional venue that has screened films on a regular basis - such as museum, film society, college student or screening association, please send them to me at:
We will post the list here at TFF for a start within the next couple of months.