Garden Cinemas partners with Neon to stream movies during theater closure

  • Garden Cinemas is partnering with Neon to make two Sundance Film Festival films available for streaming while the theater is closed amid the pandemic. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Report
Published: 5/6/2020 2:42:42 PM
Modified: 5/6/2020 2:42:32 PM

GREENFIELD — Garden Cinemas is partnering with Neon, distributor of the Academy Award-winning film “Parasite,” to make two Sundance Film Festival films available for streaming while the theater is closed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Spaceship Earth” will be available Friday, May 8, and “The Painter and the Thief” will be available May 22. Patrons can rent the film from a link on the theater website at for $3.99. Fifty percent of proceeds go directly to Garden Cinemas.

Directed by Matt Wolf, “Spaceship Earth” is the true adventure of eight visionaries who, in 1991, spent two years quarantined inside of a self-engineered replica of Earth’s ecosystem called Biosphere 2.

Because “everyone across the globe is having a taste of the quarantine experience,” Isaac Mass, who owns Garden Cinemas with his wife, Angela, believes viewers will relate to the film.

“We are really excited about ‘Spaceship Earth,’” Mass said. “If you grew up in the ’90s, everyone talked about Biosphere 2.’”

“The Painter and the Thief,” by Norwegian filmmaker Benjamin Ree, is the story of two paintings by Czech naturalist Barbora Kysilkova that are stolen from an Oslo art gallery. Norwegian authorities quickly identify and arrest the two thieves, but find no trace of the paintings.

Hoping to learn what happened, Kysilkova approaches one of the thieves, Karl-Bertil Nordland, at his criminal hearing. She asks if she can paint his portrait and he agrees. What follows, over a series of portraits and many years, is a story of human connection and friendship.

Mass said “The Painter and the Thief” shows the fraught lives and vulnerabilities of two souls who come to recognize themselves in the other — the darkness, wounds, compulsions and self-destructive behavior. Throughout the film, he said, the audience’s understanding of both people — and even the stolen paintings — changes entirely.

The Garden Cinemas owners are hoping their patrons will enjoy these shows at home while waiting for upcoming blockbuster releases, such as “Tenet” from Director Christopher Nolan and Disney’s live-action “Mulan,” both due to release in July.

“We did not want to ask for handouts,” Angela Mass said. “We want our customers to get value for their support of the Garden, which is why we are also offering the ‘Garden Love’ and ‘Intermission 2020’ T-shirts.”

T-shirts can be purchased online at

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