Summer is almost here, which means it’s drive-in movie season.
Since the pandemic began, movie theaters and festivals have had to adapt in order to keep the films coming, particularly while crowded in-person screenings weren’t doable. And despite the state lifting most public health rules regarding COVID-19 on Tuesday, some of those makeshift movie-watching experiences are sticking around for summer 2021. Specifically, the Salt Lake Film Society’s Studio Backlot Motor Cinema and the Utah Film Center’s Damn These Heels Queer Film Festival, which will be held online and in a drive-in format.
Here is what we know so far:
SLFS Studio Backlot Motor Cinema
From 1980s classics to Oscar winners, the movies you can see through the end of June at the SLFS Studio Backlot Motor Cinema are diverse indeed.
Below is the schedule for the Salt Lake Film Society’s Indie Summer season, but double-check before you go — dates are subject to change. (P.S. Horror fans, don’t despair. SLFS noted on Instagram that it will have plenty of frightful films to see in the fall.)
• May 7: “Nomadland.”
• May 8: “Lock, Stock and 2 Smoking Barrels.”
• May 14: “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.”
• May 15: “La La Land.”
• May 18: “Bullitt.”
• May 21: “Harold and Maude.”
• May 22: “Hunt for the Wilderpeople.”
• May 25: “The Last Picture Show.”
• May 28: “Frances Ha.”
• May 29: “Dirty Dancing.”
• June 1: “Moonlight.”
• June 4: “No Country for Old Men.”
• June 5: “Jaws.”
• June 11: “Judas and the Black Messiah.”
• June 12: “BlacKkKlansman.”
• June 18: “Footloose.”
• June 19: “Drive.”
• June 26: “Easy Rider.”
• June 27: “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.”
How to visit the SLFS drive-in:
The SLFS Studio Backlot Motor Cinema is located outside Redman Movies & Stories, at 1075 S. 700 West in Salt Lake City. To avoid getting stuck waiting for a train crossing, SLFS recommends using 1300 South to enter 700 West.
Movies start at sunset. You will be asked to stay in your vehicle except for bathroom breaks, and masks are required whenever you’re outside your car. For more details about safety measures, SLFS has a complete rundown online.
Tickets are $27 per vehicle. Purchase your tickets (and concessions packages) in advance at SLFS.org.
Damn These Heels Queer Film Festival
There isn’t a movie lineup yet for the 18th annual Damn These Heels festival, but there are dates: July 9-18.
Put on by the Utah Film Center, this LGBTQ-focused event explores queer issues, identities and ideas by showcasing short and feature films from creators worldwide.
The festival will be a combination of virtual and drive-in screenings, and tickets for Damn These Heels go on sale May 24. The Utah Film Center plans to release the movie lineup, as well as the schedule of screenings, filmmaker Q&A’s and group discussions in mid-June, according to a news release.
This year, the queer film festival has a new director of programming: Ash Hoyle, who’s also a programmer for the Sundance Film Festival.
“I have long admired the important and unique impact of Damn These Heels,” Hoyle said in a statement. “During my time living in Salt Lake City as a young trans person, the films that I experienced at Damn These Heels were truly a lifeline, a celebration, and a connector to the larger community. I could not be more proud to be stepping into this role, and am privileged to be able to bring forward a vision for our program that highlights equity, inclusion, and excellence.”
For more information, visit utahfilmcenter.org.
Bonus: Redwood Drive-In Theatre
One of five permanent drive-ins left in Utah, the Redwood Drive-In Theatre is open for the season in West Valley City.
Held on Fridays and Saturdays, screenings are double features, with the first movie starting at 8:45 p.m. and the second starting at 10:55 p.m. (although you don’t have to stay for both). Tickets are $10 for adults and only $1 for kids. There’s popcorn, candy and even nachos available for purchase; however, patrons are allowed to come prepared with their own snacks.
For COVID-19 safety, the Redwood Drive-In requires patrons to stay in their vehicle (or truck bed) to watch movies, and wear masks and maintain social distance if they leave their car.
Go to redwooddrivein.com to buy tickets and, if you’re a newbie, find details on how to do the drive-in experience up right.