Grab your picnic blankets, pack a few snacks and put on some bug spray. The Featherstone Center for the Arts and the Martha’s Vineyard Film Society have partnered to screen outdoor movies every Tuesday evening at the Featherstone campus in Oak Bluffs.
Moviegoers are welcomed to Featherstone’s beautiful campus at 7:30 pm each Tuesday, with film screenings beginning after sunset at 8:30 pm. Equipped with a professional blow-up screen, high-end projector and great sound system, they are able to provide the ultimate outdoor viewing experience. So far, the Film Society has shown the Beatles-inspired film “Yesterday” and the 1999 sci-fi/comedy “Galaxy Quest,” and this past Tuesday, they screened the 2019 documentary “Fantastic Fungi.”
“It’s been wonderful,” said Ann Smith, executive director at Featherstone. “Everybody’s really happy, excited, and just grateful for the opportunity to be with their family and to be outdoors and to be doing something together.”
In accordance with state guidelines, screenings are capped at 90 people each. With the help of their sponsors, including the Edgar Hotel, the Town Grill and Bar, and the Summercamp Hotel, the Film Society is able to offer screenings free of charge. “The hardest thing right now is actually getting a ticket, because they go so quickly,” Smith said.
To ensure social distancing among the crowd, Featherstone has painted orange circles on the grass, each 10 feet in diameter, for families to get cozy in with blankets, beach chairs, and picnic snacks. “We’re doing everything we need to do to keep people safe,” said Richard Paradise, founder and executive director of the Film Society.
The Martha’s Vineyard Film Society and the Featherstone Center for the Arts have a long history of collaborating and partnering for events, Paradise said. When he decided he wanted to provide the Martha’s Vineyard community with outdoor screenings, he said, Featherstone’s campus was an obvious choice for a venue. Paradise is also responsible for selecting all of the films featured at the screenings. “This is one of the reasons why I’m in this business,” he said. “I get to share movies that I’ve seen that I think are worthy for our community.”
For both Paradise and Smith, providing free screenings for the community in the time of COVID-19 was of vital importance. “It’s a wonderful way to break down the isolation we’ve all been feeling being quarantined, and it gives people the chance to have a great time,” Smith said. “It’s really joyful, to be able to escape for 90 minutes or two hours on a lovely Tuesday evening.”
To reserve tickets for an upcoming screening, visit mvfilmsociety.com. Screenings will continue through the end of August. In addition to the outdoor screenings, the Film Society also offers a virtual cinema and in-house movies.