Open Aire Films is all the fun of a drive-in theatre without any of that pesky driving. Sitting under the stars, watching films on a massive screen, bringing your own snacks—killing a Sunday evening doesn’t get much better.
The series kicked off last Sunday with a 9pm screening of Pick Up On South Street, on a newly painted screen on the north east wall of the Bloomfield Centre (2786 Agricola Street). The series runs until September 16 and the films are free.
“The idea was spawned between my friend Ben Dalton and I. He is a huge proponent of cinema as a social experience, and he could never get me to come to the theatres with him, because there was nothing I wanted to see,” says organizer and Coast contributor Andrew Patterson. “It seems to grow little by little each year and people seem really grateful for the opportunity to get together and watch something a little left of centre. We showed a Chaplin film last year and had a row full of giggling ten-year-olds; that was the best response I've seen.”
Three years into the series, Patterson thanks “a slew of helping hands” who help keep things running smoothly. The series itself has grown from an initial “test screening” of Days of Heaven in his backyard to something more, pardon the pun, open. “Now, the main goal is to show people something they may not have heard of, but not to alienate anyone as well,” he says. “Family and film nerd friendly is the idea I think.”
Families and nerds alike should attend Sept 2 for Local Hero, Sept 9 for Picnic At Hanging Rock and Sept 16 for Brief Encounter. Plastic chairs are provided, guests are invited to bring their own (possibly comfier) seats, snacks, blankets, drinks, sweaters or anything else they might deem useful.
Patterson believes Open Aire fills a void in Halifax by providing another outlet to experience film, “When we started it, we were a little shy about doing it; because it was in our backyard and we had no rights to the films," says Patterson. "But after being offered a more public space to do it, I feel more confident and brazen. It's just a beautiful thing to sit around with friends and have a story told to you, in any medium.”