Since Tyler J.E. Hall started producing Movie in the Park in 2005, over 200,000 people have enjoyed an outdoor movie at one of their events. The idea for Movie in the Park was sparked when Tyler moved into the community of McKenzie Lake in South Calgary. The community was hosting an outdoor film, but only had indoor film equipment. “It was hard for them to keep the screen up in the wind,” said Tyler. Later the same year, he visited Hawaii, where he enjoyed an outdoor movie on the beach in Waikiki.
The following spring he decided it was time to bring outdoor films to Calgary. Partnering with the Parks and Recreation department of the City of Calgary, he began producing the events himself, curating each film selection to bring people together. Some of the early events included weekly Date Nights, with films like 50 First Dates, and Family Nights where they screened films like E.T. along with other events for kids, such as face painting and carnivals.
Now, Movie in the Park shows films for a variety of clients – from community and residence associations, to charities such as the Canadian Breast Cancer Society and the Boys and Girls Club of Calgary. Most of the outdoor movie events happen in the summer months, but Movie in the Park keeps the fun going through the winter. At Halloween they host scary carnivals with magic shows, face painting, and bouncy castles. They’ve also put on movies for the Airdrie Festival of Lights, and Christmas Movies in the Park at Eau Claire, often with the temperature dipping below thirty degrees.
Most of the films screened are those in the gap between showing in theatres and on DVD. Recent requests have included The Lorax and Pirates, Band of Misfits. If you’re wondering what to look forward to, Tyler confirmed that “we’ll be showing Madagascar and Brave in the fall.”
Of course, there are always a few favourites that people request. One event that turned out to be a huge hit took place at Mount Royal last year. Movie in the Park hosted an 80s trivia night along with a screening of Ferris Bueller. E.T., as well as the Indiana Jones and Back to the Future trilogies are also popular choices.