Last week we noted that several of the New York City area’s summer film festivals are– quite delightfully– taking the form of drive-in movie theaters. On Friday, Rooftop Films started its Brooklyn Drive-In with a screening of John Lewis: Good Trouble (eerily, news of the congressman’s death broke right after the documentary’s screening) and today the consummate curators have announced the details of their forthcoming Queens Drive-In.
Not to be outdone by the Brooklyn Drive-in’s iconic location at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, the Queens iteration will be at the New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, a stone’s throw from the Unisphere. True to the science theme, there’ll be a screening of Stanley Kubrick’s trippy classic 2001: A Space Odyssey as well as other sci-fi flicks as part of a series called “See It Big!: The Future Is Now.”
Rooftop Films and their co-curators at Queens’ own Museum of the Moving Image haven’t yet announced a specific lineup, but they’re promising “new and classic family films,” “many of the best new independent and foreign films from 2020,” and series such as Science on Screen, Queens on Film, and Jim Henson’s World. Over 50 films will be screened Wednesday through Sunday, August through October, and they’ll be accompanied by “entertaining pre-show experiences, live demonstrations, talks and videos, as well as an ongoing showcase of local and emerging artists,” according to a press release. “Do-it-yourself science tips and tricks, as well as conversations with subject matter experts, will connect the nights’ themes—from horror to climate change—to the moviegoers’ everyday lives.”
“We’re beginning by showing films,” Dr. Margaret Heney, president and CEO of the New York Hall of Science, is quoted as saying in a press release. “But as we are able, we hope to feature cultural programming from Queens organizations.” That, of course, will depend on when, exactly, New York City allows such things. For now, drive-in patrons will have to stay in their enclosed vehicles unless using the bathroom. Bicycles, motorcycles and scooters aren’t permitted, though Rooftop Films says it’s talking to local authorities about when they might be able to welcome walk-up guests.
When Rooftop Films launched its Brooklyn drive-in, just a handful of screenings had been announced. Now it spills the beans on other films that will be screened this summer, though it’s unclear which will be shown in Queens and which will be shown in Brooklyn. Per the press release, the list includes “Amy Seimetz’s She Dies Tomorrow; Copper Raiff’s SXSW-winning debut Shithouse; Sami Khan’s feature-length follow-up to the Oscar-nominated St. Louis Superman, The Last Out; Rodrigo Ruiz Patterson’s Summer White (Blanco de Verano); Elyse Steinberg, Josh Kriegman, and Eli Despres’s The Fight; Casimir Nozkowski’s The Outside Story; Ramona Diaz’s urgent new documentary A Thousand Cuts; David Osit’s Full Frame-winning documentary Mayor; Natalie Erica James’s horror film Relic; Lawrence Michael Levine’s Black Bear; Michael Almereyda’s Tesla; Matt Yoka’s Whirlybird; Alex H Fischer and Eleanor Wilson’s comedy Save Yourselves!; a nd the Ross Brothers’ Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets.”
Once they go online in the coming weeks, tickets will cost $35 per car. If that seems like a lot now that you’ve gotten used to Netflix-n-chilling, consider that you can have up to four passengers per car, and similar efforts, like Greenpoint’s Skyline Drive-In, are charging up to $55. Plus, as recognition that the drive-in is operating in one of the neighborhoods that was hit hardest by Covid-19, a portion of sales will go to Elmcor, a social services organization serving the area.
You can head over to the Queens Drive-In website to keep posted on its launch.