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Movies Under The Pines ready to shine

Nevada City Film Festival to show three films at Pioneer Park


Andrew Wedgbury

Nevada City Advocate

Grab your favorite blanket and lawn chair because the Nevada City Film Festival will once again present Movies Under The Pines, an outdoor cinema experience for the entire family held at Pioneer Park bandshell. Scheduled for June 16, July 28, and Aug.18, the Saturday night event is in its sixth year and is part of the festival’s 17th year of film activities. The festival itself runs from Sept. 7 through 14.

According to Festival Director Jesse Locks, the idea for Movies Under The Pines (MUTP) started with a desire to capture a new audience of film lovers and let them know what is going on with the film festival.

“We thought it would be a great way, to do an outdoor film, and it hadn’t really been done in our community before,” she said.

MUTP has now grown in popularity and attracts filmgoers from Sacramento, Reno and beyond who want to experience a good film in a beautiful outdoor setting.

“It really is something quite special to sit out in the field in Pioneer Park under the stars and watch a movie,” Locks said. 

The films scheduled for MUTP are well-known audience favorites. For June 16, “The Great Outdoors” will be shown. July 28 will screen “Karate Kid,” and for Aug. 18 the comedy “Best in Show” will appear. Attendance estimates for the event range from 250 to 550 people per screening, depending on the time of year. 

Locks explained that even though the Nevada City Film Festival (NCFF) has always been family-friendly and offers children’s films and activities, the nature of independent film and cinema can be a bit more challenging. 

“That was one of the decisions behind MUTP as well, to offer more family-oriented programming.” 

Before each screening, NCFF curates a special pre-show that includes screening local filmmakers’ works, movie trivia with fun festival prizes, and other events specific to each film.

“We try and look for films that are celebrating an anniversary, for example, ‘Karate Kid’ is having a reboot of that film, and we thought that would be fun to show the original on a big screen – it’s pop culture and people are talking about it now.” 

There will also be a karate demonstration before the film, and for “Best in Show” there will be a dog show. “We just try and make it as community-oriented and as fun as possible,” Locks said.

Movies are shown with a state-of-the-art 40K lumens projection system on a large 16-foot by 9-foot screen with a powerful sound system to create an outdoor movie theater on the grass. 

“It’s very important to us to make it a professional event,” Locks said.

Beer, wine, soft drinks and ice cream are available for purchase, and outside food and non-alcoholic drinks are allowed. In addition, MUTP is working with BriarPatch Co-op to offer pre-ordered picnics.

“You can order a picnic ahead of time, pick it up, and bring it out to Pioneer Park,” she said. 

Gates open at 7:30 p.m. and the films begin at sunset, which depending on the time of year can be between 8 and 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $7 for general admission. For more information, visit info@nevadacityfilmfestival.com.

About the Photo:   

Movies Under The Pines will be held on June 16, July 28, and Aug. 18 at the Pioneer Park bandshell in Nevada City. 

Photo by Kial James