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Rooftop Films, MoMI, NYSCI, NYCEDC to Screen Films in Queens & Brooklyn

Rooftop Films, MoMI, NYSCI, NYCEDC to Screen Films in Queens & Brooklyn

Rooftop Films, in partnership with Museum of the Moving Image (MoMI), the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI), and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), today announced the opening of two drive-in festival locations in New York City. The Queens Drive-In will open in partnership with MoMI and NYSCI on the grounds of the New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. The Brooklyn Drive-In opened this past weekend on the pier of The Brooklyn Army Terminal, in partnership with NYCEDC. Both venues will present films throughout the summer and fall of 2020. Both venues will be presenting films throughout the summer and fall of 2020. The drive-in festival will be the first of its kind in the New York area. In response to the ongoing pandemic, Rooftop Films felt it was important to continue the tradition of its annual summer series by continuing to bring the power of innovative filmmaking to the greater New York City community, including showcasing projects by filmmakers from a diverse range of backgrounds.

The festival opened last weekend in Brooklyn with Dawn Porter's timely documentary John Lewis: Good Trouble, on the iconic Civil Rights leader, Congressman John Lewis, courtesy of Magnolia Pictures, and the New York premiere of the thriller The Rental, Dave Franco's directorial debut, courtesy of IFC Films. The Brooklyn Drive-In screenings continue this weekend with the NY premieres of The Fight, directed by Elyse Steinberg, Josh Kriegman, and Eli Despres, courtesy of Magnolia Pictures and Topic Studios; Utopia's Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets, directed by Bill Ross and Turner Ross; and IFC Midnight's Relic, directed by Natalie Erika James.

The Rooftop Films Summer Series is presented by SundanceTV.

"For 24 years, it has been Rooftop's mission to bring New Yorkers together via the medium of film," said Rooftop Films Artistic Director Dan Nuxoll. "With theaters shuttered and most festivals postponed or moving to streaming, we hope that these events will be part of a collaborative healing process for our neighbors, and give us an opportunity to once again spotlight the most daring new films from around the world."

Working with the City, the organizations have taken every precaution to ensure the safety of all attendees. On May 11th, Governor Cuomo declared drive-ins to be essential services, allowing for drive-ins to open so long as they meet all the City and State guidelines for social distancing and staff and attendee safety. The Queens and Brooklyn Drive-In partners are working with Mutual Aid Risk and Safety to finalize safety and mitigation plans for events, and plans and procedures will exceed the recommendations included in the City and State guidelines. Audience and staff safety is our first priority, and for this reason screenings will be available only to attendees watching the films from their enclosed automobiles until further notice, in accordance with City and State regulations. The partners will remain in conversation with the City and State agencies to determine whether in the future it will be safe and legal to adapt the event spaces to accommodate socially distanced walk-up attendees. For more information on the Brooklyn Drive-In, please visit: For more info on the Queens Drive-In, visit (FAQ and ticket info coming soon).

The season-long initiative, which continues through October, will be a joint partnership venture by long-running New York non-profit organizations, with a shared mission to bring diverse communities together. The summer drive-in series will be a safe gathering place for city residents; provide jobs for staff to help offset the loss of work for workers in the film exhibition, event production, and museum industries; raise funds for local community organizations; create a hopeful and creative environment for some of the hardest hit areas of the City; and bring film, music, art, and eventually performance to as wide a variety of New Yorkers as possible.

"New York City has made incredible progress responding to the immediate health crisis. At a time when we've been apart for so long, we are thrilled that spaces like the Brooklyn Army Terminal can bring the community together in a safe way," said James Patchett, President and CEO of the New York City Economic Development Corporation. "Partnerships like these serve as an important reminder of all that New York City has to offer. We are especially pleased that this festival will showcase the City's filmmakers."

Though the core mission of the festival will be to provide a safe space for film screenings and other cultural events, the organizations also intend to utilize the drive-in venues to provide additional resources to the community, and as such, a portion of public ticket sales from the Queens Drive-In will be donated to Elmcor, a long-standing youth and adult social services organization serving the communities of East Elmhurst and Corona. With the support of the Office of the Queens Borough President, there will be free screenings for the community throughout the summer at the Queens Drive-In, as well as additional free tickets to most programs made available to residents of Corona and Elmhurst via local community organizations. The Brooklyn Drive-In will also feature free community screenings, with details to be announced later this month.

"In this unusual New York summer without concerts and other large-scale events in the parks, Queens is proud to partner with Rooftop Films and others to present this drive-in movie series as an option for families and friends to enjoy together while still prioritizing safety," said Queens Borough President Sharon Lee. "We are especially delighted to bring to New Yorkers a number of these films free of charge here in the Borough of Families."

"After months of stay-at-home orders and social distancing, New Yorkers are craving the opportunity to safely go out and seek entertainment," said Francisco Moya, City Council Member for East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, LeFrak City, and Corona. "I'm thrilled to see Rooftop Films team up with Museum of the Moving Image and the New York Hall of Science to provide both with its first-ever drive-in festival, and I'm proud to support this fantastic initiative."

Programming for the Queens Drive-In will be curated by Museum of the Moving Image and Rooftop Films, with Rooftop Films handling curation of films for the Brooklyn Drive-In. Both venues will include films from the Rooftop Films' 2020 Summer Series, which will showcase many of the best new independent and foreign films from 2020. Attendees at the Queens Drive-In should anticipate a unique nighttime experience that combines movies, fun, and NYSCI's own brand of science. Drive-In guests can expect entertaining pre-show experiences, live demonstrations, talks and videos, as well as an ongoing showcase of local and emerging artists. 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.

"It is our hope that the Queens Drive-in will help in the process of revitalizing culture in the borough," said Dr. Margaret Honey, President and CEO of the New York Hall of Science. "We're beginning by showing films, but as we are able, we hope to feature cultural programming from Queens organizations. This partnership among Museum of the Moving Image, Rooftop Films, and the New York Hall of Science has made an additional commitment to use a portion of the Drive-In's proceeds to go to Queens organizations that are helping the communities most afflicted by COVID-19 recover."

"At MoMI, we believe in the excitement of being in the same space to watch movies, and in continuing the legacy of cinema as a shared experience," said Carl Goodman, Executive Director, Museum of the Moving Image. "We are so pleased to join this partnership with Rooftop Films and NYSCI, as it allows us to bring communal moviegoing back to Queens during a time when many have been hit hard, including independent filmmakers who have lost the venues for their work."

With nearly every film festival around the world being forced to cancel, postpone, or shift to streaming platforms this year, the Queens and Brooklyn Drive-Ins will be some of the first venues to re-open to present such titles as Dawn Porter's documentary John Lewis: Good Trouble; Max Barbakow's Palm Springs; 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!; and the Ross Brothers' Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets, as well as dozens more new features and new short films to be announced in the coming weeks.

Programming will include:

  • Premiere events and sneak preview screenings of new independent and foreign films programmed by Rooftop Films that reflect the diverse communities of Brooklyn and Queens.
  • Classic repertory and thematic programming by the New York Hall of Science and Museum of the Moving Image, with series including Science on Screen, sci-fi showcase See It Big!: The Future Is Now, Queens on Film, Jim Henson's World, and a special presentation of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey.
  • Free programs for local communities, including new and classic family films
  • Special events of all types, understanding that certain events will be restricted depending on New York's re-opening phase.

Additional programming will be announced throughout the summer, with more than fifty screenings planned in total.

"This outdoor, Queens drive-in movie series is positive news and something to look forward to! So wonderful that three great cultural organizations, the New York Hall of Science, Museum of the Moving Image and Rooftop Films, are partnering with the City to provide Queens residents and families with quality films to enjoy in a safe setting," said Jimmy Van Bramer, NYC Council member and Chair of the Committee on Cultural Affairs. "This is something we all need right now. Once again culture and the arts are leading the way in a City desperate to feel good about their world."

Tickets are now on sale for select upcoming screenings at the Brooklyn Drive-In on the Rooftop Films website, tickets will be available for the Queens Drive-In in the coming weeks. Tickets will be priced starting at $35 per car (up to 4 passengers per car). Members of the presenting organizations will receive a 15% discount. Doors will open each night around 7:30pm, events will begin at 8:30pm and end by 11:00pm.

Brooklyn Drive-In, on the pier of The Brooklyn Army Terminal, entrance at 80 58th St.
Queens Drive-In, on the grounds of the New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Photo credit: Lou Aguilar, courtesy of Rooftop Films

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