Cinema under the stars

for The Brooklyn Paper
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The Brooklyn night sky will be aglow this summer, from the flickering light of oh-so-many outdoor films shining from rooftops, parks and vacant pools.

Summerscreen at Williamsburg’s McCarren Park Pool and Movies With a View at the Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park in DUMBO are both kicking off their eight-week film series in the second week of July. They’ll be joining Brooklyn Film Works at JJ Byrne Park in Park Slope, which starts its series a week earlier, and the Outdoor Cinema Series at Narrows Botanical Gardens in Bay Ridge. While Prospect Park’s Celebrate Brooklyn and Rooftop Films in Gowanus don’t have weekly film series, they’re also offering a couple of special outdoor movie events.

Each of the programs offers a different flavor of film, from classics at Movies With a View, to indies at Summerscreen, to classics accompanied by live music at Celebrate Brooklyn, to documentaries at Rooftop.


“Summerscreen” will begin its season at the McCarren Park Pool with an opening party on Tuesday, July 8.

Fort Greene actor-writer Michael Showalter will be there to introduce his film, “Wet Hot American Summer.” Prior to the 8 pm screening, four Brooklyn bands — The King Left, A Million Years, Mattison and Helena Maria — will perform. Local restaurants have donated food that will be for sale, with proceeds going to the Open Space Alliance, a Williamsbu­rg/Greenpo­int not-for-profit that promotes the preservation and development of parks in north Brooklyn. Doors open at 4 pm.

For the following seven Tuesdays, Summerscreen will show a great lineup of popular films, including “The Virgin Suicides” on July 15, “28 Days Later” on Aug. 5 and “Rushmore” on Aug. 26.

Doors open at 6 pm with pre-show live music, from bands such as Australia’s Second Dan on July 29.

You can pack your own picnic or buy dinner from one of the many vendors; there will be food from San Loco and The Smoke Joint, ice cream from Blue Marble, and beverages provided by Green Point Wines and The Brooklyn Brewery.

Almost 6,000 people attended last year’s most popular screenings, which included “Purple Rain” and “Dazed and Confused,” according to event coordinator Becca Brennan, so she recommends arriving early to stake out a spot.

“Summerscreen” events are Tuesdays from July 8 through Aug. 26 at the McCarren Pool Park (entrance on Lorimer Street, between Driggs Avenue and Bayard Street in Williamsburg). Free. For information, visit

Brooklyn Film Works

Don’t have the time or energy to contend with thousands of other moviegoers? Then just wait until Wednesday, when you can catch the Brooklyn Film Works’ Democracy in Action film series in Park Slope.

Only a couple hundred people usually attend this series at the Old Stone House in JJ Byrne Park, but with a lineup that covers some of the best political classics, from “1776” on July 2, to “The Manchurian Candidate” — the 1962 version — on July 16, it’s sure to get you revved up for election season.

There will be hot dogs from Park Slope’s Willie Dawg and soda for sale, but otherwise pack your own picnic.

“Democracy in Action” by Brooklyn Film Works runs Wednesdays at 8:45 pm, from July 2 through July 30, at the Old Stone House in JJ Byrne Park (Fifth Avenue at Third Street in Park Slope). Free. For information, call (718) 768-3195 or visit

Movies with a View

Before you have a moment to rub your film-filled eyes, it’ll be time for the Thursday film series, “Movies With a View,” which starts on July 10 at the Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park in DUMBO.

The theme for this summer’s films is “The Year of Change,” so the lineup is full of such classics as “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” on July 17, “Pleasantvi­lle” on Aug. 7 and “The Shining” on Aug. 28.

Movies With a View is offering free valet bike parking and DJs from Brooklyn Radio, the weekly radio show and music hub at, will spin before every film.

Food is allowed in the park, but alcohol is not. Rice restaurant will provide a dinner of barbecued skewers with your choice of dressing and side salad for $10-$12, along with ice cream and cold drinks, such as ginger lemonade and watermelon juice.

Movies With a View by the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy are screened Thursdays at 6 pm, from July 10 through Aug. 28, at Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park (1 Main St. at Plymouth Street in DUMBO). Free. For information, call (718) 802-0603 ext. 12 or visit

Celebrate Brooklyn

Although the performing arts festival is best known for its music and dance offerings, Celebrate Brooklyn screens movies, too!

On July 19, catch the Bruce Lee film “Enter the Dragon” — with a new score performed by electronic musician Karsh Kale — and on July 25, Godfrey Reggio’s documentary “Powaqqatsi: Life in Transforma­tion” will be shown with a live score by Philip Glass and his ensemble, accompanied by the Brooklyn Youth Chorus.

And finally, on Aug. 1, Carl Davis will return from London to his native borough to conduct the chamber orchestra The Knights, in performances of his original scores to three Charlie Chaplin shorts — “The Rink,” “The Immigrant” and “The Adventurer.”

Each film will be preceded by live music, with traditional Japanese taiko drumming by Soh Daiko on July 19, singer Marta Topferova on July 25, and violinst/singer Christina Courtin on Aug. 1.

Two Boots Brooklyn is providing picnic dinners — a full meal costs about $9-$10 — with options including grilled chicken, barbecued ribs, hot dogs, sandwiches, corn on the cob and ice cream, as well as popcorn, Raisinets, and other movie candy for sale. Beer and wine also available. Otherwise, picnicking is allowed as long as you leave the cans and bottles at home.

Celebrate Brooklyn will show classic films with live musical accompaniment on July 19, July 25 and Aug. 1 at the Prospect Park band shell (entrance at Prospect Park West and Ninth Avenue in Park Slope). $3 suggested donation. For information, call (718) 855-7882 or visit HYPERLINK “

Rooftop Films

This citywide non-profit film festival has two films scheduled for Brooklyn, on the roof of The Old American Can Factory in Gowanus.

“Knee Deep,” Michael Chandler’s story of matricide in Maine, will be shown on July 12, and “In A Dream,” Jeremiah Zagar’s documentary about his father’s famous Philadelphia murals, will be shown on July 26.

Pre-show music provided by Williamsburg’s Sound Fix record store starts at 8:30 pm, and the films unspool at 9 pm. No alcohol is allowed on the rooftop, but you’re free to pack a picnic basket.

Rooftop Films screenings on the roof of The Old American Can Factory (232 Third St. at Third Avenue in Gowanus) begin at 9 pm on July 12 and July 26. Tickets are $9, and you can buy them online or at the door. For information visit

Outdoor Cinema Series

This will be the Narrows Botanical Gardens’ eighth annual outdoor cinema series, which Narrows founder Joan Regan said began as an “outreach to Bay Ridge residents” but has since “gotten to the point where we’ve gotten people from as far as Manhattan and Long Island City.

This year, they’ll be screening the Tom Hanks-Shelley Long comedy “The Money Pit” on July 10 and the suspense classic “Wait Until Dark,” starring Audrey Hepburn, Richard Crenna and Alan Arkin, on Aug. 14.

You’re encouraged to bring your own picnic, sans alcohol, along with a chair or blanket. Popcorn, candy, cold drinks and water will be for sale.

The Outdoor Cinema Series, sponsored by the Lutheran Medical Center, runs on July 10 and Aug. 14 at sundown at the Narrows Botanical Gardens (entrance on Shore Road between Bay Ridge Avenue and 72nd Street in Bay Ridge). Free. For information, call (718) 748-9848 or visit

Updated 4:01 pm, November 10, 2010
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