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Drive-In theater shows films in Rockport

By Daniel Dunkle | Jul 20, 2020
Photo by: Daniel Dunkle The new drive-in in Rockport was constructed in about two weeks, and the screen can withstand up to 100 mph winds. It is built with utility poles.

Rockport — Anyone driving past West Street this past weekend may have noticed film stars Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman and Jerry O'Connell, looking like they haven’t aged a day since the 1980s, looming large over a field of parked vehicles.

The Shotwell Drive-In has shown at least two movies, one as part of a private screening, since its screen was constructed about a week earlier. The theater has been brought to the area by the Points North Institute and the Camden International Film Festival and is located at 40 West St., just off of Route 1.

The organization is leasing the land from the town at no cost.

Volunteers, including mechanical engineer Matt Wall, helped get the screen and the lighthouse-shaped projection building constructed in a short space of time.

Wall said the design for the screen actually goes back to the 1930s and they worked on it with local engineering firm Gartley & Dorsky. It was built using 40-foot utility poles and should be able to withstand winds of up to 100 miles per hour.

It was constructed in about two weeks, start to finish, by three or four people.

There was a private showing for volunteers and those involved in the project Thursday night with a documentary film about Bob Dylan. This was enough to get people in town talking.

On Saturday night the drive-in featured a sold-out showing of 1980s coming-of-age story “Stand By Me.”

The theater uses a high-end DCP projector. Sound is provided through an FM transmitter to the showgoer’s vehicle radio.

It has been a community project with support from the neighborhood. Wall noted that they were even allowed to use a neighbor’s hose to keep dust down as they built the structure.

People attending have also enjoyed access to food trucks that gather there for the events.

“We will be hosting a few films per month and using the theater as a venue for the 2020 festival,” an announcement from the organizations explained. “Space is extremely limited and due to COVID-19 safety precautions, we will be limiting attendance. All screenings are [online] pre-registration only, with no tickets sold at the door.”

"The Shotwell Drive-in is named in honor of Bob Shotwell, a longtime supporter of CIFF and member of the Points North Institute's Board of Directors," according to a CIFF newsletter. "Bob's campaign to expand cinema culture in Midcoast Maine helped pave the way for the launch of the Points North Institute in 2016. We are forever grateful for his tenacity, vision and support."

For more information visit https://shotwelldrivein.eventive.org/welcome.

Daniel Dunkle is editor of The Courier-Gazette and The Camden Herald. Email him at ddunkle@villagesoup.com or call 594-4401 ext. 122 if you have an idea for an article.

The vehicles are to be spaced apart to provide distancing for COVID-19. Note the use of lobster traps in the design. (Photo by: Daniel Dunkle)
The projection booth is designed to look like a lighthouse, keeping in character with the area. (Photo by: Daniel Dunkle)
Photographing a drive-in at night turns out to be tricky due to lack of light, but this is the scene from Saturday night's showing of "Stand By Me" with Wil Wheaton and River Pheonix on the screen. (Photo by: Daniel Dunkle)
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Comments (1)
Posted by: ananur forma | Jul 20, 2020 21:32

great news, what fun!



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