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Behind the Nationwide Screening of 1984

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The crowd at the sold out show at Nitehawk Cinema in New York was there to see a 30-year-old film that suddenly feels new again. 1984. On April 4, some 200 theaters across 44 states joined Nitehawk in screening the film based on the 1949 George Orwell novel as a protest against the current state of American politics. The story about a dystopian political regime has recaptured audience imaginations in recent months. Shortly after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, the novel rose to the top of Amazon’s best seller list in the U.S. More recently, a 1984-Broadway adaptation is coming to New York this spring.

The film screenings were the brain child of Dylan Skolnick and Adam Birnbaum, who run independent theaters in Long Island and Connecticut, respectively. Birnbaum says he hopes to use this screening “as a springboard and launching pads for future screenings of this nature, whether political, social, educational, or whatever the subject may be.”

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Write to Julia Lull at julia.lull@time.com