Picture House offers free shorts to educate and online rental of features to entertain


The Picture House Regional Film Center is physically closed but virtually open with an online program available for film lovers of all ages called TPH at Home.

Online education offerings are free and accessible via the theater’s website. Each Art Break program includes a short film and an attached activity sheet. Recent shorts have included “He Who Dances On Wood”  and “Emmeline.” TPH at Home is also scheduling virtual screenings of new release films. The screenings do cost money, but all the funds go to support the Picture House. Features have so far included “Saint Frances” and “Once Were Brothers.” New films will be released every Thursday.

“We hope the TPH at Home films and Art Breaks give people a little bit of escape and enjoyment during these very anxious and challenging weeks,” said Laura deBuys, president and executive director of the Picture House. “Art—whether it’s a book, or a film, or a painting, or a song—can help us connect, help us see things differently and take us out of our own circumstances for a little while. That can make a huge difference.”

“The 5,000 people who are on the Picture House email list get notified every Wednesday about a new Art Break for kids and, on Thursdays about the new films available to screen on Fridays,” she said. “We also post the links on social media, and they are all collected on our website at films/at home and education/at home. You can sign up for the email list there too.”

DeBuys said the Picture House decided to offer online programs because it is not earning enough to cover expenses and keep its staff employed, and each time someone buys one of the online films, it receives 50% of that money, or $5 to $6 a screening. “We’ll use that money and money we raise from grants and donors to keep film and education programs going.”

A number of film distributors have arranged these online screenings of new releases for movie theaters that are closed because of Covid-19. Clay Bushong, director of programming, marketing and theater operations, “looks at everything that’s available and selects films he knows our audience will enjoy,” said DeBuys. “We’ll post links for one or two films each week. They’ll stay available on our website for several weeks.  We are also posting videos of Q&A sessions from past TPH films. You can find many of those films online—and then watch what their stars or directors said about them when they visited The Picture House.”