The Sony/The Interview mishigoss rolls on and on. After President Obama called out Sony's leadership for suppressing a movie at the behest of terrorists (when the fucking government that overreacts to terrorism ALL THE TIME says there was nothing to worry about you know there was nothing to worry about) there was a rumor that Sony would release the film on Crackle, their streaming service. That seems to have fallen away into the land of falseness, but the studio has been making noise that they will release the movie after all.
But who will play it? America's independent movie theaters! While the big chains have folded the smaller guys have gathered under the banner of Arthouse Convergence - an educational program aimed at empowering indie theaters across the country - to stand behind freedom of expression and the belief that the cinema cannot be controlled by outside forces. They have reached out to Sony - through an open letter and a petition - saying that they will show The interview as a special presentation to make a statement against the terrorists.
With this threat, the issue became larger than any film, larger than Sony and larger than the entertainment industry: societal and artistic values are in peril. We are at an important crossroads with an opportunity to reaffirm clearly our dedication to the value of freedom and the absolute necessity to keep our film industry free of restriction, censorship and violent intimidation. We implore our fellow exhibitors and our nation of moviegoers to stand up in recognition that freedom of speech and artistic expression are vital not only to the entertainment industry but for all art and commerce worldwide.
We stand in solidarity with Sony and offer our support to them in defense of artistic integrity and personal freedoms; freedoms which represent our nation's great ability to effect change and embrace diversity of opinion.
We understand there are risks involved in screening THE INTERVIEW. We will communicate these risks as clearly as we can to our employees and customers and allow them to make their own decisions, as is the right of every American. Understanding those risks, the undersigned, independent cinema owners and operators of America under the banner of the Art House Convergence, do hereby agree to support Sony and to support theatrical engagements INTERVIEW should Sony, at its sole discretion, decide to release it to theaters.
This is a big deal. I keep seeing people who roll their eyes at the idea that a Seth Rogen/James Franco comedy is worth defending. The point is that all expression is worth defending. Once you begin creating exemptions for (subjective) quality you open the door to censoring all sorts of art. It isn't the quality that matters, it's the fact that humans need to be guaranteed the ability to speak their mind as they wish. The work that you think is powerful and important is garbage in the eyes of others, and the stuff that you think is garbage is someone else's big statement. So yes, a raunchy comedy is completely worthy of protection. No expression should be suppressed by threats of violence.
A quick note: that petition is for cinema programmers/owners/operators. Please don't sign it if you're not one of those three types of person.