Denver, Colorado: City's Civic Center to be Summer Outdoor Movieland

Denver's Civic Center park will be movieland this summer.

US OpenAir, a film presenter based in Boston, is set to announce in January a 30- night outdoor movie festival that'll come down in Civic Center park July 14-Aug. 12. The movies will be current think first-run blockbusters, art-house films, just released DVDs, classics celebrating anniversaries. It'll cost $15 in advance ($20 at the door) to get into the 1,400-seat grandstand, which will be specially built over 12 days for the festival. For a premium, you can sit in box seats and schmooze in the VIP lounge. Food will be "very high end," says publicistChristina Brickley, provided by a local caterer yet to be named. We're not talking popcorn and corn dogs, more like seared-steak salads and pad Thai. Wine will be available to take back to your seats.

US OpenAir has signed on for three years in Denver. After 2010, it will move to City Park with its views of downtown and the Front Range.

This event has been a great success in Sydney, Australia, since 1999. It's also a summer hit in cities such as Zurich, Switzerland; Rio de Janeiro; and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Denver would be the first city in the United States to host US OpenAir, to be followed by San Diego and New York.

At 3,000 square feet, the screen is the largest mobile outdoor screen in the world. It dramatically rises five minutes before the film. More than 30 speakers will deliver Dolby digital surround sound.

"This is an experience from beginning to end," says managing directorJulie Frahm. "From the red carpet to the restaurant, everything is comfortable and a celebration of the host city. We pick iconic locations so people go out for the evening and look around and say, 'Oh, this is why I live in this city.' "

About the $15-$20 ticket? A portion will go to the Civic Center Conservancy, the nonprofit group that works to make the park a more interesting place. "OpenAir has had a fabulous success internationally," says Civic Center Conservancy's executive directorLindy Eichenbaum Lent. "That the U.S. debut will take place in Civic Center says a lot about Denver. It'll be the place to be."

Bill Husted


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