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Outdoor Movie How-to: Beach Cinema

Beach Cinema
We are starting a new series of posts on the OAC blog, directed at helping outdoor movie enthusiasts discover new ways to enjoy their inflatable movie screen! One thing we are excited to discuss is the many places you can set up your portable movie screen. It is always enjoyable to watch a backyard cinema movie with your Open Air Cinema Screen, but a little adventure can add a lot to your outdoor movie experience!

Open Air Cinema has many customers around the world who use their inflatable screen and outdoor projector on the beach. We’ve found that those who do so often prefer our Pro or Elite screens, as they are extra durable and can handle the sand and dirt. But if you’re looking for a special place to hold your family or company party, and want to use your Open Air Cinema Home Screen, it will hold up great. If you live in Los Angeles, San Diego, Portland, Virginia Beach, Florida, Texas, or anywhere with a beach, setting up your outdoor movie screen near your favorite surfing spot will be a total blast!

beach cinemaProducing an outdoor movie on the beach can be highly rewarding, as it is a great environment to relax and enjoy the pleasures of outdoor movies under the stars. The cool evening breeze and soft sand will make for a comfortable experience for you and your guests. And the slope of most beaches provides a natural stadium style seating that will enable everyone to have a great view! Here are a few reminders for what to bring or remember for your Beach Side Outdoor Movie!

  • Make sure to identify your power source ahead of time.  You may need to bring a generator to power your fan, outdoor projector, and outdoor speakers.
  • Bring extra extension cords if you’re plugging in from your beach house or public power supply.
  • Blankets and wicker mats will keep the sand off your guests, and will provide comfortable seating.  Beach chairs work well too, especially if your audience is older.
  • Choose a movie that reflects the environment (it will make the evening extra-special): Jaws, The beach, The Little Mermaid, Finding Nemo, etc.
  • Depending on the season and your location, provide treats that will add to the ambiance: sno-cones, Popsicles or ice-cream, barbecue and lemonade!
  • Consider building a fire after the screening of the film.  Make sure to provide enough distance between the fire and the screen! Don’t forget the firewood.

If anyone has produced a outdoor cinema beach event, post your story to the comments section below! We’d love to hear how it went.

Also, if you are interested in acquiring an outdoor movie system, contact us today, and we’ll help you find a system that will meet your needs and budget!

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Outdoor Movie Idea: Days of Thunder

A great pick for your next outdoor movie is Days of Thunder, the 1990 Paramount film about NASCAR racing starring Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Robert Duvall, Randy Quaid, Cary Elwes and Michael Rooker. The film is a great movie for the entire family, and would draw out many people from your community if NASCAR is popular in your area! Earlier this year, the film was screened with the aid of Open Air Entertainment before a NASCAR race at the Toyota Speedway in Los Angeles, California. Here is the theatrical release trailer for Days of Thunder.

Days of Thunder follows Cole Trickle (Tom Cruise), an aspiring race-car driver who hopes to someday race in NASCAR. Tim Daland (Randy Quaid), a wealthy NASCAR team owner, sees Trickle race, and believes he has the potential for greatness. Daland convinces Harry (Robert Duval), a retired racing coach, to watch Trickle during a test lap. Trickle beats the current NASCAR champion, Rowdy Burn, with his own car, to get the fastest test lap of the day.

Harry agrees to come out of retirement, as he also believes Trickle has great potential. But Trickle has a long way to go, and he doesn’t do so well in his first few races. But with help from Harry, he’s soon at the front of the pack – at least until a massive crash gets him and Burn injured to the point of needing rehabilitation. Days of Thunder continues in an action-packed narrative that will entertain your entire community, especially if they are NASCAR fans!

As we noted above, Open Air Entertainment screened Days of Thunder at the Toyota Speedway in Los Angeles earlier this year. Here are a few images from their event:

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Top 25 Outdoor Movies of All Time Wrapup

Yesterday we wrapped up the Top 25 Outdoor Movies of All Time with a review of Star Wars, and before moving on to other outdoor movie reviews, we wanted to publish links of all the movies on the list. We hope everyone is having an amazing summer while enjoying outdoor movies under the stars!

Is there a movie that you think should have or shouldn’t have made the list? Post your suggestions to the comments section below, and we’d love to review or feature your favorite films!

We’ll continue to review movies throughout the year, so if you have any suggestions, or would like us to focus on a specific film, post your comments below.


1. Cool Runnings
2. Crocodile Dundee
3. E.T.
4. Flight of the Navigator
5. Goonies
6. It’s a Wonderful Life
7. Mary Poppins (Sing-along Version)
8. Monsters Inc.
9. The Muppet Movie
10. Pirates of the Caribbean (1-3, Do a series!)
11. The Princess Bride
12. The Sandlot
13. Robin Hood (Disney Version)
14. Wall-E
15. Wallace and Gromit (trilogy)
16. Who Framed Roger Rabbit
17. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (Original)
18. Wizard of OZ

19. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
20. Fantastic Mr. Fox
21. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
22. Life is Beautiful
23. Rocky (original)
24. Star Wars (1977) (Do a series with all 6!)
25. The Blind Side

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Top 25 Outdoor Movie: Star Wars

The final movie on our Top 25 Outdoor Movies of All Time List, is the six-part film series Star Wars.  The series that began in 1977, has changed movie making forever, while enchanting millions of Star Wars fans.  Here is the original theatrical release trailer for the 1977 film Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.

The original Star Wars trilogy changed movie making in many ways. The special effects were state-of-the-art, and continue to be pretty amazing, even by today’s standards. When the original Star Wars was released in 1977, it blew out the box office, with nearly half a billion dollars in ticket sales in the United States alone (making it the #4 top grossing film in US history). Collectively, the six Star Wars films have grossed nearly 4.5 billion dollars! Beyond the huge ticket sales, Star Wars is a series that is about the struggle between good and evil, light and dark, and is a wholesome series that will certainly draw out large numbers of your community!

star warsThe six Star Wars films make the perfect selection for an outdoor movie film series, and by the end of the festival, you’d have quite a bit of hype surrounding your event. You’d certainly get quite a bit of attention in your local press, and would be able to galvanize your community in a very real way. There aren’t many people that don’t love Star Wars, and there probably isn’t a better group of films that would be as universally loved by just about any community. The themes that run throughout the series are able to be likened across a broad variety of world-views, and thus will help bring your community together in significant ways.

star warsWith characters such as Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Darth Vader, Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, and R2-D2 – the series presents one of the best opportunities for a costume contest as a pre-show activity. You could have a best-costume award for each of the films, with a grand winner for all of the events. Prizes could be given for each of the individual film winners (the awards being donated by local businesses), with a much large prize for the overall winner. You’re guaranteed to have dozens of little Yodas and Luke Sywalkers running around with light sabers in their brown jedi cloaks!

Has anyone shown one of the Star Wars films, or all of them in a series as a part of their Outdoor Movie events? If so we’d love to see pictures, and to hear your story. Please post your comments to the comment section below. We look forward to seeing what you come up with!

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Top 25 Outdoor Movie: The Muppet Movie

One of our final movies on our Top 25 Outdoor Movies of All Time list is the 1979 classic, The Muppet Movie. This Jim Henson creation is arguably one of the top family films of all time, and it had to make our list of the best outdoor movies. There are a handful of reasons why this film made the list, but before we go any further, here’s the original theatrical release trailer (it’s far different than trailers today!):

The Muppet Movie is a film-within-a-film, and begins with a crowd of muppets in a screening room about to watch a movie in which they all star. Their movie opens with Kermit the Frog singing in a swamp and riding his bicycle. The song is the famous “Rainbow Connection”, and was nominated for an Oscar, although it didn’t win. Kermit is then approached by a movie agent, who recognizes Kermit’s great talent, and encourages him to go on to Hollywood to “make millions of people happy”. Encouraged by his words, Kermit sets out across the country in hopes of reaching Hollywood to influence families everywhere. Along the way, he meets his muppet friends, including Fozzie the Bear, Animal, and others. But Kermit is also sought after by the owner of a frog leg fast food chain, who wants Kermit to be the spokesfrog for his company. However, Kermit is determined to get to Hollywood, and against all odds, continues on his path of fulfillment.

The Muppet Movie is a story about America, and is a great example of diversity and unity as we all work together in our great nation. It is a reminder that no matter who we are or where we come from, we can achieve great things. The Muppet Movie is a great choice as your next outdoor movie, whether you’re looking to entertain thousands at your next city parks and recreation event, or want to spend time with your family enjoying backyard cinema under the stars!

A pre-show activity could include a puppet show, and even could feature the stars of the movie! You’ll likely have many families and young children attending your outdoor movie night, and so this would be a great way to keep everyone entertained while you wait for the sun to go down. You could have a number of muppet related games and trivia, with prizes donated by local companies. Thus, you can engage your local businesses and community in general, while entertaining those families at the event.

If anyone has shown this movie, please send us some images, or post your comment to the section below! We can’t wait to hear how your outdoor movie screening of the Muppet Movie went!

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Top 25 Outdoor Movie: It’s a Wonderful Life

We only have a couple movies left on our list of Top 25 Outdoor Movies of All Time, and although we didn’t intend to save the best for last, the 1946 classic It’s a Beautiful Life is definitely at the top of our list. Before we tell you why this film will captivate your community, here is the original theatrical release trailer for the film (trailers have sure come a long way since 1946!):

It’s a Wonderful Life was nominated for 5 Oscars, but ultimately did not win. However the American Film Institute has classified it as one of the 100 Best American Films Ever Made, and placed it as number one on their list of the most inspirational American films of all time! The story follows George Bailey (played by James Stewart), as he is down and depressed after a several turns of bad luck. Through the prayers of his family and friends, a guardian angel named Clarence Odbody, Angel Second Class (played by Henry Travers) is sent to watch over him. Before being sent, Odbody is shown the past life of George, at which point the film follows the narrative of his life’s events. As we watch George growing up, we witness an individual of great character, who always puts himself above others. George even saves a couple lives, and through his heroic actions is able to change the course of life for many.

Eventually the vision catches up to the situation that opened the film, and Clarence the angel is tasked with saving George’s life in the face of his suicidal thoughts. It’s a Wonderful Life highlights the difficult and meaningful moments of life, and shows our weaknesses, but ultimately reminds one that through the values of faith and love, life can be a beautiful experience that is highly fulfilling. This is one of those films that will really bring your community together, both in physical numbers of persons and families, but also in spirit as they contemplate the simple things in life. It’s no wonder this film is loved by so many!

There are many ways that one could really engage their community with It’s a Beautiful Life. As with many movies on our Top 25 list, this film presents a perfect opportunity for a costume contest! You could have a best dressed vintage (or maybe it’s classic?) fashion show, with categories for the ladies and the men! This would be a great film to do a drive-in outdoor movie with. And with a 40′ Open Air Cinema Elite Screen, you’d be in great shape to have a huge turnout with families in their cars. If you’ve never done a drive in movie with your inflatable movie screen, give us a call and we’d be more than glad to explain the technicalities (866-802-8202).

It’s a Beautiful Life is sure to bring back memories for all who have seen the film before. If anyone has screened this film before, and wants to share their story with how the event went, post your comments to the comments section below! We’d love to hear your story.

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Condobusiness Magazine Features “Dive-In” Outdoor Movies

Open Air Cinema

Open Air Cinema Pro 16' Screen by the poolside.

We just discovered that Condobusiness Magazine featured a brief story on “Dive-In” Outdoor Movies, and how they are the latest and greatest thing in community or multi-residential settings.

OAC H9 Cinebox System

The community pool is a location where your community already gathers together, and so there is really no better place to host an outdoor movie series if you are trying to bring your residents together. The only thing that is better than watching a movie under the stars is to watch it under the stars while swimming or hanging out by the pool! We know of many apartment and residential building owners who have purchased outdoor movie systems as a way to show their community that they care. Check out this earlier post about Resource Residential, and how they’ve been using “Dive-in” movies to entertain and bring together their communities!

If you have featured a Dive-In movie at your multi-residential setting, leave a comment below and let us know how it went!

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Top 25 Outdoor Movie: The Princess Bride

As we begin to wrap up our Top 25 Outdoor Movies of All Time, the next movie is a family favorite that will definitely bring out your community.  The movie is the 1987 classic The Princess Bride, a film of adventure, comedy and romance that is truly a film you won’t regret screening as your next outdoor movie.  Here is a short trailer for The Princess Bride:

The Princess Bride is based upon the 1973 novel of the same name by William Goldman, and follows the adventures of Wesley (Cary Elwes) as he goes on a journey to try to raise enough money to marry his true love Buttercup (Robin Wright), and finds himself in a quandary as he is kidnapped by the Dread Pirate Roberts.  When Buttercup believes Wesley is dead because of his confrontation with the Pirate, she agrees to marry the prince Humperdinck, but is kidnapped just before the wedding.  A disguised Wesley courageously follows the kidnappers and rescues Buttercup, only to find himself and his lover in a succession of difficult situations that continue the story through adventurous turns and twists that will keep your entire community on the edge of their seats.

The Princess Bride deserves a spot on our Top 25 Outdoor Movies of All Time because of its appeal to the entire family, young and old.  The film presents some really great opportunities to create a thematic atmosphere that will create memorable experiences for your community.  As with other movies, The Princess Bride is a great film to center a costume contest around, with its many characters and creatures.  Prizes could be given out by local businesses to the best costume!  You could have “sword fights” with wooden swords, with contest winners also winning prizes from local businesses.

The Princess Bride should definitely be at the top of your outdoor movie list, and if you show it anytime soon, let us know, and we’d love to share your story on the blog!

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Outdoor Movie Wish List: Inception (Leonardo DiCaprio)

Inception, a film set to release in about a month starring Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Christopher Nolan, is at the very top of our wish list for outdoor movies. Here is the official trailer for the film:

Inception follows Don Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio), who is a skilled thief in the art of “extraction”, a process where Cobb “steals” ideas when his victims are in the state of sleep, when they are deep in their unconscious state. His skills have been utilized in large part for corporate espionage, but he is faced with a new task. His task is not to “extract” the ideas of his next victim, but rather to plant the idea, or create an “inception”. The trailer, as seen above, shows some really cool special effects, as the unconscious mind is exposed and seemingly supernatural events unfold. Buildings and cities twist and crumble, perception is bend and warped, and reality becomes relative as Christopher Nolan (director of the Dark Knight), creates scenes that feel surreal and truly dreamlike. The film is shot on location in Paris, London, Tokyo and Los Angeles, among others.

Inception looks like it would be a great date-night outdoor movie flick, as it is psychologically packed and intense with suspense, but it’s PG-13, so would be safe to screen in an outdoor movie setting (although it is up to you and your community what is appropriate for age levels and your audience). We obviously haven’t seen the film yet, but we saw the Dark Knight, and we totally loved it (as did most people we know). Nolan’s films go beyond action and suspense, and deliver truly psychological performances and cinematography that is out of this world!

If you can’t tell by now, we are really looking forward to seeing this film, and especially when we can view it as an outdoor movie! Let us know if you see the film, and leave your comments below!

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Resource Residential Uses Open Air Cinema Systems for Dive-In Outdoor Movies

Dive In Cinema

Photo Credit: Open Air Cinema

Major shifts that occurred after the economic downturn, prompted Philadelphia-based property management company Resource Residential to do something different for its communities. And so it was a year ago that the company introduced dive-in theatres at all 52 of its properties, right from Portland, Maine to Los Angeles.

“Everyone was beginning to cut back on their frivolous spending—going out for movies etc. so I was looking for a way to provide something different to our residents and also try to build a better sense of community that includes the whole family,” Harlan Krichman, president Resource Residential, tells MHN.

The salt-water swimming pools at Resource Residential’s properties provided an excellent location for the inflatable screens. “If we could find an outdoor movie system, we could turn our swimming pools into dive-in theaters! And, quite frankly, no one else was doing this,” says Krichman. He says the inflatable screens also provided a great way to utilize the pools. “It shows off our pools and brings people together. Building a sense of community is important to us because if our residents are happy in their community, they will make friends and start to build bonds.” The movies are family friendly so the whole family can come out for the event. “They bring their rafts and sit in their tubes while watching the movie,” he adds.

The area next to the swimming pool is mainly where Resource Residential screens the movies and sporting events. But on occasion—in case of Sunday morning cartoon shows for example—the screens will be set up indoors. “It has to be dark for the visuals to be visible on the screen, so it needs to be indoors sometimes,” explains Krichman.

Krichman purchased Open Air Cinema’s CineBox systems for each of the Resource Residential properties last year. The system includes a giant 12’X7’ screen, which inflates in seconds, along with a digital projector, speakers, mixer and DVD player. “The open air cinema product sets up very easily. You can pack up the whole thing in three boxes,” he says. This feature also allows the company to use the inflatable screens to promote its properties and amenities. “Some of our properties are near college campuses. We can take the screens there and sponsor a free movie night, where we include a five-minute piece on our apartment community and what sets us apart. Also, during our weekly movie nights, as well as a college movie event, we get local stores and businesses to participate in sponsorships of the movie night to provide some revenue that can help offset any costs that may come along with the program. This helps spread the word about other businesses in the broader community,” says Krichman.

Feedback to the dive-theatres has been positive, but it’s not just the residents who have appreciate the dive-in events, the employees like it too. “When they see the reaction of a resident, they become excited about it as well,” says Krichman. The company is now working on having a dive-in event weekly.

He concludes, “We haven’t had people moving in just for the dive-in theater per se, but people do come in and say they have heard about how great a community this is—people know each other and you have community events. It is the combination of the pool and the theater that attracts a lot of prospective renters.”

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Top 25 Outdoor Movie: The Sandlot

Up next on our Top 25 Outdoor Movies of All Time list: The Sandlot.  This film is a really great pick for your next outdoor movie or backyard cinema for a number of reasons, but before we get into any specifics, here is the original theatrical release trailer:

The Sandlot follows Scotty Smalls, a teenage boy who moves into a new neighborhood near Los Angeles, California. He is desperately trying to fit in and make new friends, and is doing all the wrong things. However he is befriended by Benny Rodriguez, the leader of a neighborhood crew of kids who love doing nothing else but playing baseball. Smalls is nervous about his lack of baseball skills, but quickly learns to loosen up and is included in the group and their games. He also learns of the one thing that should be avoided when playing in their neighborhood park: DO NOT hit a homerun ball over a specific backyard, or “The Beast” will devour the ball, and you won’t be getting it back! One day Benny devours a ball by splitting it to shreds because he hit it so hard. The boys can’t afford another ball, so Smalls gets his stepfathers ball in his study that is signed by a nobody, “Babe Ruth”. The ball is quickly hit over the fence, and when Smalls realizes who the nobody was who signed the ball, the group sets out to recover it. The resulting scenes will keep your audience on the edges of their seats, as the boys come in near contact with “The Beast”!

The Sandlot is a fun paced movie for the entire family, that tells the story of long summer days and the friends that are made over the years. It is a perfect choice for your next outdoor movie event if you’re looking for something that will appeal to families young and old.

The Sandlot also presents some awesome opportunities for creative screenings. You could host the movie at your local ball park, creating the perfect stage that will enhance the overall experience for your audience members. You could focus the night around a “block party” theme, with hot dogs and popsicles for concessions, and baseball hitting or tossing competitions for pre-movie events, with prizes given to the winners from local businesses and sponsors. The ideas you could come up with for creating a unique outdoor movie experience with The Sandlot are infinite!

This movie is a really great pick, and for the reasons above, deserves to be in the Top 25 Outdoor Movies of All Time. Have you screened The Sandlot as an outdoor movie, or do you have an experience or favorite outdoor movie to share with us? Send us your story to community@openaircinema.us – we’d love to hear how outdoor movies are changing your community and bringing everyone together.

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Top 25 Outdoor Movie: Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Our next movie on our Top 25 Outdoor Movies of All Time is Who Framed Roger Rabbit, a classic film that mixes animated and live characters in a way that was groundbreaking at the time, and still unusual today. Here is the theatrical release trailer:

Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a murder mystery set in 1947, and follows a group of cartoon characters called “Toons” who act out cartoons (similar to how humans act out live scenarios). The Toons interact with humans, and live in Toontown, which is near Hollwood, California (the place that Toontown in Disneyland is based off). Roger Rabbit is the main star of the show, and is married to the gorgeous cartoon woman Jessica. Roger is framed for the murder of Marvin Acme, after he runs away when finding out his wife has cheated on him. The rest of the film will keep your audience on the edges of their seats as the action and drama escalate as Roger tries to solve the mystery of who killed Mr. Acme.

And for some Who Framed Roger Rabbit trivia: the film features the only cinema footage where Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse appear together on screen!

This film has a PG rating, and so is not for small children, both for its mild suggestive content and violence. Who Framed Roger Rabbit would make a great outdoor movie or backyard cinema event for school and college crowds, and would be a really good pick for your next date night outdoor cinema! As we’ve noted many times before, animations do very well as outdoor movies, as their colors are crisp and bright, and the high contrast makes a stunning overall image. With Who Framed Roger Rabbit, you’ve got the bonus features of an animation, with the teenage and up content that normally comes with non-animations. The film will bring out large crowds, as it is a movie that people don’t watch as often as other movies. Nostalgia will always draw a crowd!

If you have screened Who Framed Roger Rabbit as an outdoor movie, we’d love to see images from the event, and would also be thrilled to hear your story. Please email us at community@openaircinema.us, and we’ll share your story (even if it does not have to do with Roger Rabbit!) with the rest of the open air community.

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Los Angeles, California: Festival Shifts but Outdoor Movies Remain in Hollywood

Among the venues at which the Film Independent-run LAFF will show films and host panels are Regal Cinemas, the Grammy Museum, the Orpheum Theatre and Nokia Plaza, with L.A. Live serving as its flagship venue. The festival will continue to hold outdoor screenings in Hollywood, at the John Anson Ford Amphitheater. (The Times is a presenting sponsor of LAFF.)

The move continues a pattern for Film Independent, which also runs the Spirit Awards, of moving its events downtown. The Spirits’ switch last month, to L.A. Live, met with mixed results, but festival director Rebecca Yeldham said that the new spot would be more central and also tap into the neighborhood’s emerging cultural identity.

“Our new location will continue to pave the way for LAFF to realize its potential as an international destination event, and unites our filmmakers and audiences with the diverse arts community that exists downtown,” she said.

Steven Zeitchik

Read more….

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Los Angeles, California: Flashback to the '80s with Hollywood "Almost Free" Outdoor Cinema

Outdoor Movies in Los Angeles, CaliforniaEarlier this month the Hollywood “Almost Free” Outdoor Cinema hosted an ’80s night with a screening of “Pretty in Pink”. Movie-goers came in swarms, dressed in poofy pink and metallic blue prom dresses, ready to show their stuff in costume and dance contests. The outdoor movie event also became a tribute to filmmaker John Hughes, who died shortly before the screening.

The outdoor cinema is held in the parking lot of an old Circuit City on Sunset Blvd. They screen cult classics and B movies, but “Pretty in Pink” drew an unprecedented crowd. The 20 and 30 age group loved this particular movie because they could identify with its misfit characters. It’s a unique opportunity to watch an old favorite movie under the stars and flashback to the ’80s with prom dress-up and dance contests.

Hollywood “Almost Free” Outdoor Cinema will continue to screen outdoor movies until Aug. 29th.

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Los Angeles, California: Outdoor Movies Create Community Experiences in Los Angeles

Outdoor Movies in Los Angeles, CaliforniaLos Angeles has a long and distinguished history of cinema. Now the Cinema Heritage Project, a San Fernando Valley-based volunteer group, is trying to create a community experience through outdoor cinema. This Saturday they will be presenting a free outdoor screening of Alien vs. Predator outside of Amalgamated Dynamics’ studio in Chatsworth, where the makeups and costumes for the film’s monsters were created. Movie-goers can enjoy a tour of the studio, along with a special introduction from filmmakers.

Cinema Heritage Project strives to create a community experience with outdoor films – people won’t just go to a theater and sit in the dark, they’ll be able to watch a movie under the stars, with friends and family, and perhaps make new friends and acquaintances. Additionally, they want to screen films in places that are significant to the filming or production of the film -like Amalgamated studio. In this way, the film is brought off the screen and connected with the real world and with the audience, giving it a historical context that the audience can literally interact with in real time.

“We show movies at the locations where they were made, but it’s more than just movies under the stars,” explained Brin, who chairs the CHP. “The idea is to connect people with their community in a very different way.” (Daily News LA)

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