Movies Under the Stars Project Extended

Movies Under the Stars, a New York City summer outdoor film screening program, has continued to be a hit since its inception a few years ago. Every summer, multiple venues throughout the city host outdoor screenings of both new and classic films. This past year’s HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival showcased a few very familiar titles including Ghostbusters, Footloose, Chinatown, and Back to the Future. 

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The program’s outdoor locations include the Central Astoria Waterfront, Central Park, Washington Square Park, Tompkins Square Park, and Columbia University. Due to the program’s popularity, Movies Under the Stars has been extended for another month, adding quite a few August viewings. All five boroughs will host family-friendly events, showing The Muppets Take Manhattan, The Wiz, Annie, Mad Hot Ballroom, and Enchanted. More parks around the city are also joining the summer fun to enhance exposure to participating New Yorkers.

Los Angeles has a similar summer outdoor screening program beginning in April and lasting until the end of October. The fair LA weather makes it easier to hold outdoor events for a longer duration of time. This summer, a 2015 Master Calendar was released, allowing everyone to easily schedule which screenings they would like to attend. For the month of August, some great films are lined up including Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club,  The Princess Bride, Mean Girls, and Big Hero 6. Screenings are spread throughout L.A. to venues like the Lou Bredlow Pavilion in Warner Park, La Cienega Park, Pacific Palisades, and the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

Outdoor screenings give people the old-school drive-up theater experience for a low cost and easy convenience. Many look forward to the festivals every year. With the increase in popularity, both New York and L.A. are going to have to find new venues, additional support, and a larger number of eligible films. At least this is a good problem to have!

32nd Jerusalem Film Festival

On Thursday, July 9th, the Israeli film scene was brought to center stage with the opening of the 32nd Jerusalem Film Festival. This year was the first since the controversial move to pull the film “Beyond the Fear”, the documentary based on Yigal Amir who killed Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabain in 1995.

Roy-Dekel-FilmFestThe biggest concept this year is: mixing political and socially charged films, featuring controversial directors such as Hadar Morag, Evgeny Ruman, and Avishai Sivan. Morag’s film titled “Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me” follows the journey of Muhammad, a man with family ties to a collaborator with Israeli security services. Muhammad befriends a lone ranger who rides his motorcycle into the inner city. Ruman’s psychological drama, “The Man in the Wall”, spans over one night in a Tel Aviv Apartment. The film was recently played in Rotterdam where it was nominated for a Fipresci prize. The 2010 Cannes Golden Camera winner, Avishai Sivan, will be showing “Tikkun,” the story of a ultra-Orthodox scholar who is involved in a serious accident, which in turn makes him apathetic to his studies. His father, who brought him back to life is tormented by thinking he has crossed God’s will.

International standouts include the critically acclaimed Amy Whinehouse documentary, “Amy,” by British born Asif Kapadia, and Taiwanese director Hou Hsais-Hisen’s, “The Assassin.” The festival also will have special features, including an appearance from this years Lifetime Achievement award winner John Turturro and a screening of the drama “Mia Madre” from Italian director Nanni Moretti. Turturro will also be involved in master classes with Gitai and Seidl.

The 10th anniversary of the Jerusalem Pitch Point session will include a focus on co-producers between international cinema and Israel, and a panel on the topic of Israeli cinema in the eyes of foreign media. The festival will conclude on Sunday, July 19th with a open-air screening of “The Godfather”, and a live orchestral score conducted by John Freer.