In certain intellectual and artistic circles, it’s almost a sport to complain about how Miami gets every bit of culture last among the country’s larger cities. And yet, every day a little piece of evidence appears, shining like a beacon of hope in a sun-bleached mental vacuum.
Indie film buffs, take particular note of the latest development to benefit you: GATHR, a nationwide sort of film-previewing club that’s now offered in Miami at O Cinema’s Wynwood location.
GATHR is a membership program, and you have to be a serious new-new film addict to make it worth your while. But if you are, it’s a deal.
Here’s how it works — you can purchase a one-month subscription for $19, or three months for $49. (These are current prices and part of an initial test phase.) That guarantees you one ticket to a screening of a new movie every week, as long as you RSVP at least 24 hours in advance. (If you have friends who aren’t members, you can buy a full-priced companion ticket when you RSVP, or they can try to score a few limited non-member tickets at the door.)
Alright, fine, but here’s the fun part — the program selection is more or less crowd-sourced from among a pool of potential films. In an online members-only area, if a film you want to see isn’t scheduled for an area screening already, you can request one. If enough fellow members reserve seats for the potential screening, it’s a go.
Oh, and none of these films will have been released anywhere outside of the festival circuit yet. Not even in New York or L.A.
So is it worth it? We think yes, if you love going to the theater as a social event. You’re getting each screening for less than half the cost of a ticket at a local multiplex, and the warm fuzzy feeling of supporting a locally owned independent theater. Plus, there’s that unquantifiable arts-hipster cred — with films rolling out via on-demand and streaming services, it’s pretty darn hard to get first look at anything these days. Not so with GATHR films! You are 100-percent guaranteed bragging rights on seeing these first-first-first-run films before any other Miami plebs. How’s that?
In any event, weekly GATHR screenings are planned already at O Cinema through June 17, and if you’re still on the fence, here’s what’s coming up. It’s a selection of everything from dark horror comedy to tragic biographical documentary, which means, at least, something different every time you show up. Click here to visit GATHR's web site for more information about a Miami membership.
Saturday, June 1 at 11 p.m.
100 Bloody Acres: This is billed as an Australian horror/comedy about two brothers who run an organic fertilizer business fueled by “product” culled from dead car crash victims. When the supply starts dwindling, the action kicks off and things turn alternately goofy and gory.
Monday, June 3 at 7:30 p.m.
More Than Honey: Need to be depressed about the global bee situation a little more? No, seriously, you do, because bee decimation is a problem, and this documentary highlights exactly why. (Think: There’s a huge domino effect if bees don’t pollinate, and so on down the line.) There are other bee documentaries out there, but this one’s getting raves for its beautiful and rare close-up shots of bees actually doing their thing.
Monday, June 10 at 7:30 p.m.
The Attack: This one’s adapted from the novel of the same name by Yasmina Khadra, which follows an Israeli Palestinian surgeon living in Tel Aviv. He enjoys a happy marriage and a placid existence until a suicide bombing in a restaurant kills 19 people — and police tell him his wife was responsible. Yep, file this under suspense and high drama.
Monday, June 17 at 7:30 p.m.
The Good Son: Bring out the hankies for another tear-jerking tale of a good-athlete-gone-bad. This is the sad story of boxer Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, who seemed like the sport’s savior until he accidentally killed a Korean challenger at a 1982 match in Vegas. The aftermath pretty much ruined the lives of everyone directly connected to the story, and like every good sports tale, this documentary charts the equally dramatic peaks and valleys of Mancini’s life.