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Unique international outdoor film festival kicks off at Socrates Sculpture Park

By Bill Parry

Socrates Sculpture Park has announced the schedule for its Outdoor Cinema film festival. Now celebrating its 17th year, the popular festival features open-air cinema, music, dance and food, held in the 5-acre waterfront park in Long Island City.

Unlike other outdoor film festivals around the city, Socrates Sculpture Park distinguishes itself by its critically acclaimed, international array of titles, programmed by Film Forum in collaboration with Rooftop Films.

Each film is screened in its original language with English subtitles, and for the first time this year, every film will be projected onto a 40-foot wide screen.

“Don’t Look Back,” director D.A. Pennebaker’s cinema verite portrait of a young Bob Dylan on tour in Britain in 1965, kicks off the festival July 1. The opening sequence of the film, with Dylan in the alleyway, discarding placards on which his lyrics are scrawled, has become a culturally iconic moving image that has been ripped off ad infinitum. Some call it the greatest music documentary ever.

Every Wednesday evening embodies the culture of the film’s country of origin by featuring regional cuisine from Queens restaurants and performances by local musicians and dancers.

“This season spans nearly five decades of filmmaking, presenting historic documentaries alongside recent cinematic achievements, including the very first film directed by a Saudi woman,” Socrates Sculpture Park Executive Director John Hatfield said. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to present all eight films on the 40-foot screen at the water’s edge, creating a magical cinematic experience here in Queens.”

Admission to films and performances are free of charge. The evening’s food and performance line-up will be updated on Socrates Sculpture Park’s website.

“There’s not a better summertime activity than a film under the stars with family and friends,” Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment Commissioner Cynthia Lopez said. “The festival truly embraces the diversity of local talent and celebrates international cinema and outstanding documentary works. The outdoor festival showcases emerging artists and award-winning filmmakers in one of New York City’s most popular green spaces.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

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