Through October, the Flushing Meadows Corona Park educational and cultural center is hosting the Queens Drive-In a mix of first-run and classic films and foreign films reflecting the diverse culture of Queens.
Organized in partnership with the Museum of the Moving Image and Rooftop Films, the series will present premiere events along with sneak preview screenings of new independent and foreign films that reflect Brooklyn and Queens.
The films are Thursdays through Sundays, and some Wednesday, too.
The fun started on Thursday, Aug. 13, with the New York premiere of Michael Almereyda’s “Tesla,” which won the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. In this feature, the Serbian inventor Nikola Tesla (Ethan Hawke) fights an uphill battle to bring his revolutionary electrical system to fruition while he also fights discrimination against immigrants. He has uneasy interactions with fellow inventor Thomas Edison (Kyle MacLachlan) and his patron George Westinghouse (Jim Gaffigan).
Unlike the recent Tribeca Drive-in at Orchard Beach, which was FREE, the Queens Drive-In is not free.
Ticket prices start at $35 per car for up to 4 passengers.
Part of the proceeds go to Elmcor, a Queens-based nonprofit that serves everybody from youths to senior citizens and administrates the Louis Armstrong Recreational Center.
The doors will open around 7:30pm each night, with the events running from 8:30pm to 11pm.
Online reservations are required to maintain social distancing.
Here’s the schedule for this weekend and in September –
“This Is What We Mean By Short Films 2020” on Thursday, Aug. 27.
For 24 years, Rooftop Films has been presenting this annual a collection of daring new bursts of brilliance from around the world that showcase the cinematic possibilities of short-form filmmaking.
This year’s program includes explorations of erased Black histories; a queer, Indigenous mumblepunk take on the rock ‘n’ roll survival story; and the tragic tale of a pair of dinosaurs who fell in love.
Cecilia Aldarondo’s “Landfall” on Friday, Aug. 28.
Through shard-like glimpses of everyday life in post-Hurricane María. Puerto Rico offers a prismatic portrait of collective trauma and resistance.
Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” on Sunday, Aug. 30.
This mysterious and profound epic —“the ultimate trip”— is about nothing less than the beauty and the banality of civilization, blending cool satire, an elaborate vision of the future, and passages of avant-garde cinematic inventiveness. This showing has an intermission.
Ritesh Batra’s “The Lunchbox” on Wednesday, Sept. 2.
The late Irrfan Khan stars in this delicate romance set in Mumbai.
Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, 6:30 pm. on Sept. 3
This is Spike Lee’s classic film about race relations and a Bed-Stuy pizzeria on an extremely hot day.
- Note – this film starts at 6:30, not 7:30,
A double feature with a comic adventure that hit it big in the 1980s and a few episodes of an Emmy-winning animated series follows genius scientist and misanthropic, self-centered Rick and his nervous teenage grandson Morty.
Andrew Stanton’s “Wall-E” on Wednesday, Sept. 9.
A tiny robot becomes humanity’s greatest hope in this Pixar film.
Lulu Wang’s “The Farewell” on Wednesday, Sept. 16.
Queens native Awkwafina stars in this funny hit about a family that withholds a big secret from their sick matriarch.
Jon Favreau’s “Iron Man” on Wednesday, Sept. 23.
Robert Downey Jr. stars as a self-styled billionaire, playboy, and philanthropist whose work as a defense contractor puts him in the crosshairs of terrorists intent on using his engineering genius to build weapons. Don’t worry, this superhero origin story paved the way for the Avengers to assemble.
Barry Sonnenfeld’s “Men In Black” on Wednesday, Sept. 30.
Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are super cool agents of a top-secret organization that polices extraterrestrial activity on Earth in this SciFi blockbuster that features Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
Drive-In Movie Theaters Enjoy a Pandemic Renaissance
by Evelyn Kanter
Old-fashioned drive-in theaters are back in style.
It’s part nostalgia, part need for affordable family-friendly entertainment in troubled times.
Social distancing and having fun too!
Here’s what you missed so far:
Sami Khan and Michael Gassert’s “The Last Out” on Friday, Aug. 14.
- Three young Cuban baseball players leave their families to train in Central America and chase their dreams of playing in the Major Leagues in this documentary.
George Miller’s “Mad Max: Fury Road” on Saturday, Aug. 15.
- Charlize Theron stars in this reboot of the legendary Mad Max series. This time, Theron’s badass war captain Imperator Furiosa flees the forces of a brutal warlord through a primitive, post-apocalyptic desert wasteland.
James Frawley’s “The Muppet Movie” on Sunday, Aug. 16.
- Kermit the Frog makes his way from his humble origins in a Florida swamp to fabled Hollywood, assembling a team of friends as he goes, including Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, and Gonzo.
Rodrigo Ruiz Patterson’s “Summer White (Blanco de Verano)” on Thursday, Aug. 20.
- Thirteen-year-old Rodrigo is a solitary teenager who finds solace in his intimate relationship with his mother, Valeria. She is his best friend, his protector, and his entire world. When her new boyfriend comes to live in their small house on the outskirts of Mexico City, however, Rodrigo finds his domain completely disrupted.
David Osit’s Full Frame-winning documentary “Mayor” on Friday, Aug. 21.
- Musa Hadid, the Christian mayor of Ramallah, is serving his second term in office in this documentary. His immediate goals: repave the sidewalks, attract more tourism, and plan the city’s Christmas celebrations. His ultimate mission: end the occupation of Palestine.
Possible films for Queens Drive-in in October
The New York premiere of Dave Franco’s The Rental;
Max Barbakow’s Palm Springs;
Amy Seimetz’s She Dies Tomorrow;
Copper Raiff’s SXSW-winning debut Shithouse;
Elyse Steinberg, Josh Kriegman, and Eli Despres’s The Fight;
Casimir Nozkowski’s The Outside Story;
Ramona Diaz’s new documentary A Thousand Cuts;
Natalie Erica James’s horror flick Relic;
Lawrence Michael Levine’s Black Bear;
Matt Yoka’s Whirlybird;
Alex H. Fischer and Eleanor Wilson’s comedy Save Yourselves!; and
Bill and Turner Ross’s Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets.
Queens Drive-In has a counterpart, Brooklyn Drive-In, on the pier of The Brooklyn Army Terminal.
Editor’s note: The organizers will follow city and state health guidelines to ensure the safety of all attendees.
Vintage photo of drive-in theater courtesy Volkswagen