Ryan Harrington, an industry veteran who previously worked with brands including National Geographic, Discovery and A&E, has taken on a new job as the first head of film programming at Kinema.
The new venture-backed social cinema platform recently launched with the goal of eliminating “cinema deserts” and expanding global access to film content. In his new role, Harrington will oversee curation and programming for the company’s library.
“Physical cinemas are dying throughout the country. And an opportunity to go back to my roots to support diverse voices and deliver them to diverse audiences in a way that helps uplift rights that might be left on the floor when filmmakers might sell their rights to streamers or bigger distributors, so we can fill in the gaps, that’s what is so exciting to me,” Harrington said.
Prior to working with Kinema, Harrington worked around the world as a producer and creative executive. He served as vice president of NatGeo Doc Films where he executive produced the Academy Award-nominated doc The Cave, along with The Nightcrawlers, Sea of Shadows, and Rebuilding Paradise.
Harrington also helped launch A&E IndieFilms, the theatrical documentary arm of A+E Networks, and Discovery’s documentary arm. He also worked as vice president of artist programs for the Tribeca Film Institute, helping to launch the organization’s worldwide granting and filmmaker aide initiatives.
Kinema launched earlier this year after receiving US$2 million in seed funding, backed by investors including Kindred Ventures, Lupa System, Galaxy Interactive and I2BF Global Ventures. The platform’s goal is to expand access to films by allowing its users to host virtual or in-person screenings in community spaces like churches, bars or YMCAs.
This would also bring smaller films to areas where it’s more difficult to see them in theaters, helping those films find a larger audience. Harrington praised this work as supporting the diversity and democratization of film, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic that has worsened cinema deserts in North America.
“It’s filling the gaps in the distribution landscape,” Harrington said.
“There are massive communities around the country, around the globe, that don’t have access to Netflix, Hulu or Disney, and we want to fill in those gaps to allow event ties programming to bring into communities that don’t have them.”
Harrington said he also envisions Kinema releasing films in tandem with distributors.
In one of his first moves in the new position, Harrington is focusing on LGBTQ programming at Kinema, which will include the release of Sandi Dubowsky’s Trembling Before G-D, coinciding with the film’s 20th anniversary. Harrington will also play an instrumental role in Kinema’s Tribeca Film Festival events.