Drive-in organizers looking for public support, ideas

Ken Kellar

Following a less than ideal first outing, the organizers behind the pop-up drive-in movie theatre are looking for the public’s help in making the experience bigger and better for this year and years to come.
Due to some technical difficulties right as the inaugural drive-in night’s first movie was set to begin, the organizers made the tough call to cancel the two showtimes at the Fort Frances Public Library, but volunteer Diane Maxey said everyone is taking the experience and learning everything they can from it to ensure that the events are as successful as possible going forward. To that end, she said, they are looking for help form the public in two key areas.
The first has to do with the children’s showtime. Working off of what they learned from last week, there won’t be a children’s showing outdoors for the next few weeks. According to Maxey, after some consideration the organizers felt the need to look for an alternate location for the family showtime, adding that the amount of daylight at 6 p.m. interfered at with the picture quality.
“We’re looking for another venue for the kids,” Maxey said.
“We’re trying to find any building that would be suitable. It would have to be physically distancing safe, so if anyone has a building they’re willing to share, or any ideas, please let us know.”
In addition to lighting, Maxey said an inside venue for the kids shows would allow for families to bring blankets or pillows to allow for kids to get comfortable and watch movies, with parents being able to join them or sit somewhere else that would still be nearby. Though she said there’s been nothing confirmed either way, Maxey said one idea she had was the arena, where the kids could sit on the ice surface while parents sat in the stands.
Later in the season, as the sun sets earlier, the organizers will look at moving the family showing back outdoors.
The other area that the drive in organizers are looking for help is in expanding the screen they have to show movies. Following the first attempt to put on the show, the organizers decided that an upgrade to the size of the screen might be necessary, and so are looking for sponsors and donations to help make the movie nights even better for the outdoor shows.
“We decided we need a much larger screen, so that’s why we’re looking for donations,” Maxey said.
“We’re looking at getting something that’s 35 – 40 feet, that way we can offer a better experience. If this is to become something in better times, we’d need that bigger screen. If we can get enough donations in time we might even be able to get it for this year instead of waiting for next year.”
So far Maxey said they’ve had four sponsors come on to help with making the drive-in experience bigger and better for this season and the years to come.
The adult movie is still scheduled to run in the parking lot this Friday, weather permitting, and Maxey said they’ll be raising the current screen higher off the ground so more people can see it, adding that the sound quality through the FM transmitter is excellent.
The original mature audience showing of M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable eventually went ahead this past Monday evening following another weather delay last week. Neither the Chamber nor the Library have announced the next scheduled movies. Keep an eye on both organizations’ Facebook pages for updates and movie announcements.