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Kinema, a social cinema platform, officially announced its launch on Tuesday and said it has closed a $2 million seed funding round with money from big-name investors, such as James Murdoch’s Lupa Systems.
Among its other financial backers are Steve Jang’s Kindred Ventures, Galaxy Interactive, 12BF Global Ventures and an individual investment from Wall Street analyst Richard Greenfield of LightShed Partners. The company was initially incubated within and received pre-seed funding from Human Ventures’ startup studio. Heather Hartnett of Human Ventures, Jang and Kinema founder and CEO Christie Marchese serve as the firm’s board of directors.
Kinema, which says it is “both a tech platform that enables social cinema and a network of non-theatrical exhibitors,” cites the goal of “eliminating ‘theater deserts’ and expanding access to engaging film” via a network of screening hosts, filmmakers and filmgoers.
The coronavirus pandemic has hit cinemas around the world hard. “As the world makes the slow transition to reopen, there will be increased audience demand for a variety of in-person, virtual and hybrid gatherings,” Kinema said. “Kinema’s mission is to enable unique cinematic experiences tailored to communities everywhere. Additionally, the team is committed to being a resource to filmmakers and distributors by providing a new way of digital distribution, marketing and monetization.”
Said CEO Marchese: “At Kinema, we’re enabling cinematic experiences that are impactful, thought-provoking, engaging and – most importantly – everywhere. The pandemic taught us that the film-going experience can exist beyond the traditional movie theater. With Kinema we’re enabling global storytellers to connect with local audiences, and putting the power of curation directly in the hands of community leaders and influencers.”
The company said it hopes to inject “community and accessibility back into (the) film industry with (its) real-time, multi-platform screening ecosystem.”
Kinema’s non-theatrical exhibitors, or hosts, include nonprofits, education institutions, faith centers and online influencers. Hosts can organize online events via the Virtual Kinema, which includes live text chat and live video broadcasting, enabling audiences to connect live with creators, talent and filmmakers. Hosts can also organize in person with the help of the platform’s secure cloud-based film delivery application.
Kinema says it and its network of hosts have hosted more than 450 screenings for tens of thousands of users.
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