When dusk hits on a humid summer day, what better place to be than laid out on a blanket under the stars with friends, snacks, and a big screen playing some of the most famous flicks? Luckily for you, more and more major cities across the nation are establishing their own version of the outdoor film festival, where a variety of films both old and new are screened in parks, on beaches, or rooftops.
If you hail from the Bay, be sure to check out San Francisco’s Dolores Park Movie Night on the 2nd Thursday of each month. The festival is already slated to feature some foreign favorites, like Amelie, and is dog friendly (just in case you wanted to bring your puppy along)! With the lure of the mega screen and the infamous Virginia the Tamale Lady, who’s rumored to stomp the grounds hawking her delicious tamales while doling out advice, how could you not be down with this amazing festival!
For those of us on the East Coast, the options in New York city are a-plenty. Most famous is the HBO Bryant Park Film Festival, which showcases a lineup of timeless classics that everyone should catch at least once. Starting on June 15th, make your way to the park each Monday evening and chill with your homegirls while you take in oldies but goodies like Harold and Maude, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. While they don’t offer tamales, they do have gourmet sandwich drop-off at your blanket courtesy of Top Chef head honcho Tom Colicchio’s ‘Witchcraft. Not bad for a night of lounging in the park!
If you’re across the river in Brooklyn, you don’t have to make the trek into the city to catch a great flick. Consider the Rooftop Films Festival, which is a platform for local and underground filmmakers to show their work. Although not free (on average, screenings run about $9 a pop), the events are usually preceded by interesting panels with the directors, and followed by some free beer and open bar offers. Be sure to catch much-buzzed about Voices from El-Sayed, a documentary that looks inside the world’s largest community of deaf people living together. Brooklyn also offers the Movies with a View festival, in its 10th year. With world-class DJs from Brooklyn Radio spinning, and dinner being served up by popular eatery Rice, the festival allows guests to unwind under the Brooklyn Bridge. The lineup this year includes Tatum O’Neal classic Paper Moon and Johnny Depp fave Edward Scissorhands.
Don’t worry Midwest, you’re still in the game! Chicago isn’t one to be left out, so the immensely popular Outdoor Film Festival will be back with a vengeance. Every Tuesday, your favorite black-and-white flicks like Psycho and Sunset Boulevard will grace the screen. The lineup here is really amazing, so make sure you pack a picnic and check it out.
Free is (most of the time) better, so this summer before you throw down $12 bucks plus popcorn to catch a movie in a dark theater, head out to your local park and catch one for nearly nothing (minus the cost of your snacks) under the stars!
- Summer Festival Madness: Outdoor Movies
- NYC: Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival
- NY: BROOKLYN NON-FICTION (short films) 9/12
- The Film Link List – 05.19.11
- M.I.A. TOUR DATES