Living in Austin sometimes feels like living in an eternal, year long film festival. In addition to Austin Film Society and all the film festivals that happen in this town, we also get the Cinema East summer series.
Every summer Sunday at 9 PM, Cinema East hosts creative, independent films on the lawn of the French Legation in East Austin. This is an excellent way to end the weekend: watching a film, Austin style.
What makes it feel like Austin? Well, it’s an outdoor film event that’s BYOB. My friends and I are usually the type of people who bring a cooler of Austin Beerworks’ Fire Eagle. I’d also recommend anything by Hops and Grain. However, I’ve also seen many people set up a great looking picnic as they enjoy the movie, maybe with a bottle of wine.
The film selection is really cool. Curated by Cheer Up Charlie’s owner, Maggie Lea, Cinema East offers festival quality programming all summer long. Unlike Sound & Cinema or the Paramount Summer Classic Film Series, most of these films are not classic films you’ve seen before. Don’t let that discourage you from wanting to go. These are the types of films you’d have to attend a film festival to catch. If you were lucky.
“But Robert, some of these films already played at SXSW!” That is correct. However, most Austinites don’t get a chance to see the films that play at festivals, so this is an excellent opportunity for Austin residents to experience them without having to buy a festival badge or spend an hour or two waiting in line. Also like I said previously, the BYOB or picnic experience can give a relaxing atmosphere to cap off the weekend. It’s a great idea to suggest to friends or a date on a Sunday night.
Previous year’s selections featured a lot of films made in Austin or made by Austinites. They included Eric Hueber’s Rainbow’s End, Clay Liford’s Wuss, and the 2013 SXSW hit Zero Charisma, by directors Katie Graham and Andrew Matthews.
Now in its fourth year, Cinema East is showing a more diverse set of films from outside the local filmmaking scene. This summer line up includes:
- I Believe in Unicorns
- Approaching the Elephant
- Wild Canaries
- Joy Kevin
- The Foxy Merkins
- Above All Else
- The Heart Machine
Admission is usually $3-5 (dude, just bring $5) at 9 PM on Sunday nights at the French Legation (802 San Marcos Street, east of downtown).
Sunday nights are often weighed down by the impending doom of Monday lurking around the corner. But during the summer, Austinites can use Cinema East as a fun and relaxing way to cope with the end of the weekend.
Have you ever been to a Cinema East summer show? What did you think?