When The Nighlight Cinema in downtown Akron closed March 15, the organization had to figure out what to do next.
Operating an intimate 46-seat movie theater wasn’t safe during the coronavirus pandemic. And The Nighlight always has operated as not just a place to screen independent films, but a place to bring people together.
The independent nonprofit organization is spending the summer doing so through virtual screening.
The cinema’s Virtual Screening Room, online at nightlightcinema.com, offers a rotating selection of newly released independent films.
Films range from about $4 to $12. Viewers have access to the screening for a set time period, usually a couple of days, allowing you to watch a film you loved more than once or giving friends a chance to coordinate screenings or share films together, said Artistic Director Brittany Dobish.
Films are introduced by Nighlight show leaders and other guests. The films aren’t typical big-screen blockbusters but independent cinema that you might not find elsewhere. And films are curated for the Nightlight’s audience.
“The Nightlight, we’ve been programming films that more or less touch human people’s lives,” she said.
In June, the cinema made it a point to amplify black voices and feature contemporary African American films.
The Nighlight always has been an inclusive organization, but a rapidly changing world has caused them to stop and reflect, Dobish said.
“We could always be doing better. And that’s what this time is showing us,” she said.
For more on The Nightlight, including how to support the nonprofit’s mission and operations, see nightlightcinema.com.