Culture & Society News Poland

Poland’s first e-cinema goes online

Kraków, Poland – Following the closure of all cinemas in Poland due to the coronavirus pandemic, one of Kraków’s most iconic arthouse cinemas has gone virtual. Kino Pod Baranami‘s new e-cinema online platform, accessible here, will now feature a selection of films, special screenings, lectures and online discussions.

Polish movies but also international ones, such as Alice Winocour’s Proxima, acclaimed French historical drama Portrait of a Lady on Fire and A24’s folk horror Midsommar are currently available to rent on the e-cinema platform. They are however only available in Poland.

“The idea for the e-cinema came primarily from the desire to keep in touch with our viewers. When the cinema was closed, we began to look for a way to continue our work and reach our viewers online,” the cinema’s director Marynia Gierat told Cineuropa.

“We wanted to provide them not only with films, but also with the opportunity to meet and talk. At Kino Pod Baranami, we believe that cinema is a meeting place, where all age groups can come together. That’s what we wanted to transfer online as well.”

Its popular film clubs, such as the Student Night Film Club and the Meetings of Young Cinema Amateurs, have also gone virtual, with participants now able discuss the movies with others via the platform after watching it online.

“When we had to close the cinema, our film clubs were the first ones to move,” explains Marynia Gierat. “The activity of arthouse cinemas, such as ours, is based on this bond and on a close relationship with the audience.”

Already weakened by the shift to streaming, theater-going is facing an uncertain future in Poland and around the world.

With coronavirus upending the movie business and hurting box office revenues, theater-going, already weakened by the shift to streaming, is facing an uncertain future in Poland and around the world.

“I think the viewers will be more and more thirsty for cinema, actually,” insists Gierat, who remains positive. “Cinemas must survive because nothing else can replace this shared experience, the multitude of emotions felt in a dark room”.

Kino Pod Baranami are nevertheless hoping to keep the platform alive, even after the cinemas re-open.

“For sure, the market will change and streaming will play an even greater role, so it’s good that now we are ready for it, technologically”, adds Gierat. “When we open our cinema again, our streaming platform will be right there, next to it, serving as a natural extension of our business.”

In a sign that everything may not return to the way it was pre-pandemic, while the release of many blockbusters have been delayed, such as Marvel’s Black Widow, Disney’s Mulan, James Bond’s No Time to Die and F9, the latest in the Fast & Furious franchise, Universal chose to release its animated adventure comedy Trolls World Tour online.

Main photo credit: Emilian Alexandre, Kino Pod Baranami’s Facebook

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