“There’s an outdoor movie happening every night in the summer, somewhere in the Lower Mainland, and we’re doing it,” Russ Davies of FreshAirCinema Outdoor Movie Company tells the Straight during a call from his Surrey office.
The organization was launched in 2006 and has grown “exponentially,” says its executive director, as he and his group now do about 90 shows in their peak period. Eight years ago, FreshAir started showing free films at Stanley Park, and although the screen is inflatable and takes only 20 minutes to put up, those shows are an ordeal.
“For Stanley Park alone, our day starts at 6 o’clock in the morning and finishes up at 2 or 3 in the morning the next day, after we’re finished cleaning the park and leaving it exactly the same way we found it,” he says.
The company has since expanded across Canada and now works year-round, with their inflatable screens being employed for indoor exhibits and 3-D mapping projects.
“We’ve got these screens that go up for one night and then come down, and then, kind of like a circus, we’re on to the next town,” says Davies. “The best part of it is standing in this field where we have the whole community sitting under the stars, transfixed by the screen, and hearing the laughs and cheers and tears. It just sends chills down your spine.”
Here are some of our choices for a summer screening beneath a starlit canopy. All movies start at sundown (approximately 9 p.m.). More information is on the FreshAirCinema website.
Back to the Future
You might need a DeLorean to get to Lynn Valley, but it’ll be worth it. This is a makeup for an earlier rainout, so consider yourself lucky it’s still an option.
Lynn Valley Village (June 11)
The first of the Stanley Park series is a trip down memory lane for adults and an excuse not to read the book for the kids.
Stanley Park (July 5)
The Jungle Book
Go for the kids, stay for the classic Christopher Walken beat poetry.
Starlight Theatre at Lansdowne Centre (July 6); River District Drive-In (August 7)
This cult favourite pulled a Pedro and won a fan election in order to secure its spot in the Stanley Park lineup.
Stanley Park (July 12)
Again, go for the kids, and this time stay for the ridiculously poignant racial allegories.
Starlight Theatre at Lansdowne Centre (July 20); River District Drive-In (August 14)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The first time any of the Star Wars films will be seen outdoors in Vancouver. The original three weren’t shown due to issues over rights. The prequels for… uh… the same reasons, yeah.
Stanley Park (August 2)
Labyrinth/David Bowie Night
See the classic film before letting Hollywood gouge you for the remake in a year or two. The Thin White Duke plays the Goblin King. Is this “peak Bowie”? Discuss.
Stanley Park (August 9)
Purple Rain/Prince Night
Before there was 8 Mile, there was Purple Rain.
Stanley Park (August 16)
Back by popular demand and here to close out the Stanley Park series. It’s a good thing the park doesn’t have any corners.
Stanley Park (August 23)
Remember when the Daniel Craig/James Bond franchise was a beaming ray of hope?
Starlight Theatre at Landsdowne Centre (August 24)