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Update on the Eventual Reopening of the Downing Film Center

As guidelines around the COVID-19 crisis continue to evolve, we wanted to update you what’s on our minds as we work toward the eventual reopening of the Downing. Earlier this summer, New York State issued guidelines regarding which businesses would be eligible for the fourth (and final) phase of reopening. Unexpectedly, movie theaters weren’t among the businesses given the green light to resume operations. The state hasn’t made it clear when we can anticipate additional guidelines. To reopen, we must consider the following issues:

  • Specific government guidelines
  • Safe operating conditions
  • Financial barriers

We’re confident that we’ll be able to enact policies to ensure a healthy viewing experience as soon as the state allows us to reopen. We’re less certain about whether we can overcome the financial barriers to reopening. Even though we’re a tax-exempt nonprofit organization, we rely on having a certain number of patrons per week to meet our financial obligations. Because of our small size and limited seating capacity, social distancing will present a challenge. Reopening guidelines based on limiting occupancy to a percentage of available seats could limit our capacity so much that we would be unable to sustain our operation. In addition, because of the uncertainty of the current situation, many film distributors have delayed the release of their best titles into the fall or winter, and even into next year. By opening too early, with inferior movies and at reduced capacity, we risk losing more money than we would if we remained closed. Since we closed in March, we’ve been busy considering options for reopening—exploring changes in the number of screenings per week, expanding the variety of films we offer, and so on.

We’re humbled, gratified, and inspired by the support of our patrons during this difficult time. Your memberships, donations, and participation in our virtual cinema program are sustaining us through this extended closure. Thank you! Stay healthy and safe!


VIRTUAL CINEMA SCREENINGS

Although the Downing Film Center remains temporarily closed, film distributors are partnering with us to provide online access to their films, so you can indulge your love of cinema from home. In addition, you’ll be supporting the Downing because a portion of each ticket purchase will go to the film center!

Scroll down for information about the films currently available for streaming.

Be aware that to support the Downing, you must use the purchasing links in our eNews or on this website.

Click here for additional information about this virtual cinema program.


The Cuban

NR | 1h 39m | In English

Click or tap on the poster for details, including pricing, a trailer, and a link to purchase a virtual ticket.

A musical journey of love, friendship and the power of the imagination. When a naïve pre-med student gets her first job in a nursing home, an unexpected friendship with Luis, an elderly Cuban musician, reignites her love of music and changes her life forever.

—thecubanmovie.com

Within a schematic premise that finds two people, at opposite ends of the life cycle, reconnecting with happier times and their true selves, the grace notes are what lift the story from the page.

-Hollywood Reporter

The Fight

PG-13 | 1h 36m | In English

Click or tap on the poster for details, including pricing, a trailer, and a link to purchase a virtual ticket.

The Fight is an inspiring, emotional insider look at how these important battles are fought and the legal gladiators on the front lines fighting them. Directors Elyse Steinberg, Josh Kriegman, and Eli Despres capture the rollercoaster ride of the thrill and defeat in these deeply human battles. When a mother is separated from her child, a soldier is threatened to lose his career, a young woman’s right to choose is imperiled at the pleasure of a government official, and the ability to exercise our basic right to vote is threatened, the consequences can be devastating to us and to future generations. The Fight celebrates the unsung heroes who fiercely work to protect our freedoms.

—Magnolia Pictures

The Fight is a fantastic documentary highlighting the real heroes out there: the overworked attorneys of the ACLU.

—Film Threat


Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind

NR | 1h 30m | In English

Click or tap on the poster for details, including pricing, a trailer, and a link to purchase a virtual ticket.

An exploration into the career, music and influence of the iconic musician. With unprecedented access to the artist and featuring interviews with Sarah McLachlan, Alec Baldwin and more, this intimate documentary follows Lightfoot’s evolution from choirboy in rural Canada to troubled troubadour to international star with hits including “If You Could Read My Mind,” “Sundown,” “Carefree Highway,” and “Rainy Day People.”

—Greenwich Entertainment

Immortal folkie Lightfoot, 81, the author of classics such as “Carefree Highway” and “Sundown,” shows the wisdom of age in this must-see documentary.

—AARP Movies for Grown-Ups


Marley

PG-13 | 2h 24m | In English

Click or tap on the poster for details, including pricing, a trailer, and a link to purchase a virtual ticket.

Bob Marley’s universal appeal, impact on music history and role as a social and political prophet is both unique and unparalleled. Marley is the definitive life story of the musician, revolutionary, and legend, from his early days to his rise to international superstardom. Made with the support of the Marley family, the film features rare footage, incredible performances and revelatory interviews with the people that knew him best.

—Magnolia Pictures

[A] generous, absorbing, family-authorized documentary on the late, still-reigning king of reggae music.

Variety

Rebuilding Paradise

NR | 1h 35m | In English | Directed by Ron Howard

Click or tap on the poster for details, including pricing, a trailer, and a link to purchase a virtual ticket.

On the morning of Nov. 8, 2018, a devastating firestorm engulfed the picturesque city of Paradise, California. By the time the Camp Fire was extinguished, it had killed 85 people, displaced 50,000 residents and destroyed 95% of local structures. It was the deadliest U.S. fire in 100 years—and the worst ever in California’s history. Rebuilding Paradise, from Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard, is a moving story of resilience in the face of tragedy, as a community ravaged by disaster comes together to recover what was lost and begin the important task of rebuilding.

—National Geographic

A sincere and skillfully assembled tribute to a community’s fortitude.

Hollywood Reporter

Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful

NR | 1h 33m | In English

Click or tap on the poster for details, including pricing, a trailer, and a link to purchase a virtual ticket.

One of the great masters of photography, Helmut Newton made a name for himself exploring the female form, and his cult status continues long after his tragic death in a Los Angeles car crash in 2004. Newton worked around the globe, from Singapore to Australia to Paris to Los Angeles, but Weimar Germany was the visual hallmark of his work. Newton’s unique and striking way of depicting women has always posed the question: did he empower his subjects or treat them as sexual objects? Through candid interviews with Grace Jones, Charlotte Rampling, Isabella Rossellini, Anna Wintour, Claudia Schiffer, Marianne Faithfull, Hanna Schygulla, Nadja Auermann, and Newton’s wife June (a.k.a. photographer Alice Springs), this documentary captures his legacy and seeks to answer questions about the themes at the core of his life’s work – creating provocative and subversive images of women. The film also features Newton’s own home movies, archival footage (including a pointed exchange with Susan Sontag) and, of course, scores of iconic Newton photographs. The result: a wildly entertaining portrait of a controversial genius.

—Kino Lorber

It’s a fun, generally brisk biography, one whose tone might be the artist’s credo. Newton declared that there are “only two dirty words” in any of the three languages he spoke — “art” and “good taste.” He never let either limit what he was trying to say.

—Movie Nation


The 11th Green

NR | 1h 49m | In English

Click or tap on the poster for details, including pricing, a trailer, and a link to purchase a virtual ticket.

A respected journalist, Campbell Scott, uncovers the truth behind the mythology of President Eisenhower’s long-alleged involvement in extraterrestrial events.                    

A thoughtful and compelling what-if, starring a never-better Campbell Scott.

Hollywood Reporter

Waiting for the Barbarians

NR | 1h 54m | In English

Click or tap on the poster for details, including pricing, a trailer, and a link to purchase a virtual ticket.

The Magistrate of an isolated frontier settlement on the border of an unnamed empire looks forward to an easy retirement until the arrival of Colonel Joll, whose task it is to report on the activities of the ‘barbarians’ and on the security situation on the border. Joll conducts a series of ruthless interrogations, which leads the Magistrate to question his loyalty to the empire.

—Samuel Goldwyn Films

Guerra’s film not only feels fresh—it feels vital, bolstered and humanised by a stunning portrait of quiet humanity by Mark Rylance.

—Movie Nation

Days of the Whale

NR | 1h 20m | In Spanish w/English Subtitles

Click or tap on the poster for details, including pricing, a trailer, and a link to purchase a virtual ticket.

Cristina and Simon are two young graffii artists who paint the city that they live in: Medellín. They defy a criminal gang when they decide to paint over a threat, written in a wall, a mural of a whale. The powerful strength of youth, faces fear, violence and the many risks of growing up.

Days of the Whale brims with the recognizable, head-swimming mix of young love and adolescent rebellion, and the charge that comes from standing up for your beliefs.

—The Playlist

We Are Little Zombies

NR | 2 h | In Japanese with English subtitles

Ends August 6. Click or tap on the poster for details, including pricing, a trailer, and a link to purchase a virtual ticket.

When four young orphans—Hikari, Ikuko, Ishi, and Takemura—first meet, their parents’ bodies are being turned into dust, like fine Parmesan atop a plate of spaghetti Bolognese, and yet none of them can shed a tear. They are like zombies; devoid of all emotion. With no family, no future, no dreams, and no way to move forward, the young teens decide that the first level of this new existence involves salvaging a gaming console, an old electric bass, and a charred wok from their former homes—just enough to start a band…and then conquer the world. Tragedy, comedy, music, social criticism, and teenage angst are all subsumed in this eccentric cinematic tsunami.


Amulet

R | 1h 39m | In English

Ends August 6. Click or tap on the poster for details, including pricing, a trailer, and a link to purchase a virtual ticket.

Amulet follows Tomaz (Secareanu), a former soldier who is left homeless after an accident and takes refuge in the decaying home of Magda (Juri), a lonely young woman in desperate need of help as she cares for her ailing mother. At first hesitant, Magda soon welcomes Tomaz into their lives. But as he gets closer to and begins to fall for Magda, Tomaz notices strange and unexplainable phenomena. Something seems very wrong with the mysterious old woman who never leaves the top floor, and Tomaz begins to suspect that Magda may in fact be a prisoner to her otherworldly bidding.

—Magnolia Pictures

Amulet is deeply, deliberately mysterious, and all the more fun for it; the less viewers know going in, the more ferocious the ride.  

—Screen International


Kaye Ballard

Ends August 13. Click or tap on the poster for details, including pricing, a trailer, and a link to purchase a virtual ticket.

Kaye Ballard: The Show Goes On…, directed by Dan Wingate, is a wondrous reflection on the achievements of “the greatest star you hardly knew.” From big bands to Broadway, radio to recordings, and television to the big screen, Kaye Ballard did it all in a career that spanned eight decades. Delightful moments are captured in rare archival footage and recent interviews with Kaye’s long-time pals Ann-Margret, Carol Burnett, Harold Prince, Carol Channing, Michael Feinstein, Rex Reed, and others, as well as with Kaye herself. 


Olympia

Ends August 13. Click or tap on the poster for details, including pricing, a trailer, and a link to purchase a virtual ticket.

Directed by Harry Mavromichalis, this award-winning documentary is a sublimely intimate portrait of a woman becoming her own woman on her own terms to assert a gigantic creative force into the world. Rebelling against her old-world panty-sniffing suspicious Greek mother to assert her strong sexual drive, fighting the feeling she was “too ethnic” amid the Boston Brahmin at BU, and starting her own theatre company in New Jersey instead of waiting for the phone to ring, Olympia Dukakis models how to live life with blazing courage. As fellow actors Laura Linney, Diane Ladd, Whoopi Goldberg and Austin Pendleton testify, Olympia is “totally open and crazy”, which is the marker of her absolute sanity.


The Tobacconist

Ends August 6. Click or tap on the poster for details, including pricing, a trailer, and a link to purchase a virtual ticket.

Seventeen-year-old Franz journeys to Vienna to apprentice at a tobacco shop. There he meets Sigmund Freud, a regular customer, and over time the two very different men form a singular friendship. When Franz falls desperately in love with the music-hall dancer Anezka, he seeks advice from the renowned psychoanalyst, who admits that the female sex is as big a mystery to him as it is to Franz. As political and social conditions in Austria dramatically worsen with the Nazis’ arrival in Vienna, Franz, Freud, and Anezka are swept into the maelstrom of events. Each has a big decision to make: to stay or to flee?


John Lewis: Good Trouble

Click or tap on the poster for details, including pricing, a trailer, and a link to purchase a virtual ticket.

Using interviews and rare archival footage, John Lewis: Good Trouble chronicles Lewis’ 60-plus years of social activism and legislative action on civil rights, voting rights, gun control, health-care reform and immigration.


Future Possibilities


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Who Are We

The Downing Film Center is 501(c)(3) member-supported nonprofit arts organization dedicated to presenting quality films, not always available locally, and providing cinematic programming from around the world in collaboration with and for the benefit of the Hudson Valley’s diverse communities. The Downing is a free-speech theater that neither censors nor endorses.

Where Are We

The Downing is located at 19 Front Street in Newburgh, New York, on the bottom floor of the former Yellow Bird Gallery building. Our entrance is directly across Front Street from Billy Joe’s Ribworks. Free parking is available in the Newburgh–Beacon Ferry lot, on Water Street, and in the lot behind the theater (access via Carpenter Street). On weekdays, you may find a spot on Front Street.

Seating

Although purchasing an advance ticket guarantees you a seat, it doesn’t guarantee you a particular seat or group of seats—seating is first-come first-served.

The Downing has only 55 seats, so arrive early for the best selection. The screening room opens 30 minutes before showtime. Please don’t save seats for members of your party who have not yet purchased a ticket. 

Accessibility

The Downing Film Center is handicapped accessible. If you need our lift and elevator, please let us know in advance. We also ask that you arrive 35–40 minutes before showtime so that we can assist you before the theater gets busy.

We also have assistive listening technology (headphones and closed captioning glasses). Please see our FAQ for details.