By D’arby Rose
Featuring Broke in LA
Oakland, California, the 90s:
Art and culture was everywhere growing up. The bay area was, and still is, full of creatives that believe(d) that art is what you make it and if it makes you happy then you’re doing it right. There was no math to it, there were no guidelines to being an artist and if your hustle was legitimate, and there was no meme culture to “validate” your art and overall existence.
Growing up my house had a random selection of movies mostly left behind from previous roommates or purchased on sale at Blockbuster. There were a handful of movies that I watched on repeat and was eventually grounded and banned from watching — at least in the presence of my mom: Superstar, Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, Girl, Interrupted, Moulin Rouge, 2Gether, Mr. Bean… just to name a few. So you can see I wasn’t watching real Film Noir or what we now call Classic films (maybe not to you.) Although my parents are artists and I was constantly surrounded by art, film wasn’t as ubiquitous in the Bay Area as it is now.
The truth was I didn’t grow up with cable, have the money to rent films all the time (except in middle school and then all I rented was Queen of the Damned), or grow up thinking about filmmaking and cinema the way I do now. Thinking I could have a career and meet other active folks like myself in it. My family had other priorities and things to spend our money on.
Los Angeles, California, the Present:
My last eight years here in Los Angeles has been a trip. I think back to when I didn’t think making films and working in this industry was possible, that you had to be rich to do it. There’s a line in Black Panther that gets me choked up every time (yes, I do cry every time I watch the part in Lion King when Simba realizes Mufasa is dead, BUT) when Killmonger says “Can you believe that? A kid from Oakland walking around and believing in fairytales?” and damn, that felt so real and relatable. And I know it feels on point for so many others.
Artists who understand struggle, gratitude and privilege and want to share their voices and experiences to make the future pathway for future filmmakers and marginalized folks a safer and better place.
Our industry continues to find ways to build itself on and around privilege, the upper class, and an elite culture. I’ve found myself being de-validated and pushed out of conversations about film when folks found out I didn’t see a certain film growing up, didn’t go to film school, or haven’t seen a new release (due to lack of funds and/or time.) Frankly, I’m over that. It is such a privilege and extreme level of gratitude to be able to work in this industry and should never be forgotten. It’s a privilege to be able to afford and watch movies. Not everyone has the financial and time bandwidth, and a duty of an ally and feminist is to be aware and respectful of others’ life conditions. A producer once said to me “We’re not saving the world”, and although right at times, I say let’s use our privilege in this industry to help make it and the world around us better.
In the meantime…
Fuck elitism. We’re bringing the movies to you (see below!) We teamed up with Broke in LA, your go-to for free and cheap Los Angeles happenings, to share their incredible list of ways to watch movies for free and cheap. Share it around. Let’s support other filmmakers, take note of what stories are retired and what stories need to breathe, and have conversations about how intersectional feminism can better exist within film and the world.
D’arby Rose is an Oakland-bred and Los Angeles residing filmmaker and artist. A bio here seems silly so you can see her work here.
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Broke in LA: How and Where to Watch Free & Cheap Movies
Through LA Public Library – you just need a library card (which is FREE) to login and then view movies for FREE:
– Kanopy – great for independent, international, classic, or documentary films. Featured categories: Directed by Women, Coming of Age Stories, Oscar Winners and Nominees, and The Criterion Collection.
– Hoopla – more mainstream content
– Digitalia Film – mostly Foreign films
– Overdrive – a hearty collection of children’s video and documentary with other genres too
– You can also “rent” physical movies from the library
gofobo – get FREE passes to newly released movies in theaters. The catch? Getting a pass doesn’t guarantee admission: instead you have to stand in line hours before, but if you’re between gigs it might be worth it! And sometimes the passes are for premieres with the filmmakers and cast in attendance.
Warner Brothers, Lionsgate, and Sony have free screening programs too though they seem similar to gofobo and not as frequent.
Fandango also sometimes has free screenings, or at least discounted tickets to new releases by signing up for Fandango VIP (which is free) and getting discount codes.
AMC Stubs A-List – this membership allows you to see up to 3 movies/week at an AMC theater for about $24/month + tax. If you take full advantage and go 3 times/week for 4 weeks that shakes out to: $2/movie!
The two-screen Highland Theatre in Highland Park has the latest releases available to view for $5/ticket on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Academy Cinemas in Pasadena is a bit larger and their tickets are a cool $3.50/each though they don’t always have the latest releases screening.
If you can wait until movies are out of most theaters, but not yet streamable or on Blu-Ray then Regency Valley Plaza 6 in North Hollywood has tickets that are $3.75 each and only $2/ticket on Tuesdays and Sundays.
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