After Charlottesville, One Theater Chain Is Taking A Stand Against Hate Through The Power Of Film

"We believe in these films and the messages they convey."

In the days since the violent White nationalist rally in Charlottesville earlier this month, many public figures, organizations, and everyday people have taken a stand against bigotry — by donating money, speaking out on social media, and participating in counter-protests

Now we can add going to the movies to the list of ways Americans are fighting back against hate. The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, a theater chain operating in 22 cities around the United States, has announced a new series of 10 films titled "Intolerable: Reflections of Bigotry and Hatred in Cinema."

According to Vox, the series will start in Charlottesville itself, where the Drafthouse just opened a new theater this summer. On September 5, the local theater will screen Cabaret, the 1972 musical set in 1930s Berlin during the Nazis' rise to power. The series will then reportedly expand to other cities in the coming weeks.

Alamo Drafthouse founder and CEO Tim League shared a heartfelt message on the chain's website in which he reflected with sadness and compassion on the events in Charlottesville:

My immediate reaction to the violence in Charlottesville was simply one of anger, however, after reflection, I find that response misguided. Yes, violence, hatred, and bigotry should NEVER be tolerated, but reacting with anger doesn't heal or repair our broken fabric. Instead, my thinking shifted to one of sadness for our shattered communities coupled with a desire to actually understand those on the other side... What are the socioeconomic conditions that have fostered this anger and hatred? What life experiences result in someone wielding a torch at a white supremacist rally? And most of all, how can we make our communities better for all? 

He explained that the list of films chosen to be screened "uniquely address the complex issues we currently face in America and are united in their refusal to accept intolerance." They also include 12 Angry Men, The Battle of Algiers, Blazing Saddles, Do the Right Thing, Green Room, Hairspray, In the Heat of the Night, Putney Swope, and Selma. The titles cover various decades and genres, and tell both true and fictional (but no less powerful) stories.

"We believe in these films and the messages they convey," League said in the statement.

The series will do more than just spread an important message. In addition to hosting discussions after the movies, the Drafthouse will donate 100 percent of proceeds from the screenings to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups around the country. (George and Amal Clooney recently gave a $1 million grant to the SPLC to help combat hate.)

Alamo Drafthouse also made headlines earlier this year for its all-women screening of Wonder Woman, which drew complaints from a number of men who claimed it was sexist. The controversy even received a biting response from Austin mayor Steve Adler. The Drafthouse, meanwhile, responded by adding even more all-female screenings.

The theater chain is also known for its zero tolerance policy regarding cell phone use during its movies. We're glad to see them taking just as tough a stance against hate.

League closed his statement on the new series by saying, "We hope this series and these screenings will contribute to positive action that gets us all to a better place."

Cover image via Alamo Drafthouse.

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