Using public screenings to bring communities together

by Bob Deutsch

Cities and towns of all sizes can use outdoor movie screens to stage festivals that celebrate the community.

This blog has already discussed several examples of local film festivals occurring in different areas, and the impact that they can have on those areas’ populations. As a means of drawing people together and offering a new take (so to speak) on a certain venue, these kinds of events can present unique ways to give a new sheen to communities, especially if the films are shown on large movie screens.

Cities like Chicago or Baltimore that can speak of much of their own personality and local talent can use these kinds of festivals as an opportunity to put the works of independent filmmakers alongside those of other noted directors or figures from the same place. John Waters, for example, famously calls the latter city his home, and an event set there could find a way to acknowledge his work without being just a tribute.

This can be a great method of making the most out of a connection to the medium without focusing solely on one person’s work. A genre festival, like Edinburgh’s “Dead By Dawn” mentioned earlier, might also choose a certain area for a specific reason that makes the festival theme stronger overall.

But in the end, it could be just enough to provide a means for people to congregate, and if a city or town can boast lots of area for eager viewers to meet on, selecting Outdoor Movies can be a way to take advantage of this resource. Whether the films being shown are homegrown or blockbusters, this can be a way to draw both residents and visitors to reconsider a shared space.

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