News Column

Outdoor movie series feature classic fare

August 2, 2013

YellowBrix

Aug. 02--These days, the idea of a summer blockbuster is a rather common concept, but back in 1975, it had yet to rise to the surface.

And then came "Jaws."

Steven Spielberg's movie about a great white shark terrorizing a New England community broke box-office records, launched Spielberg's career and opened filmmakers' eyes to the possibility of summer success.

For many, the film also has become a modern classic -- the kind of movie that finds fans among multiple generations. It was just the kind of film that the Mill River Collaborative thought would work for its first outdoor movie series at night.

"Jaws" will be presented, in conjunction with Stamford's Avon Theatre, on Tuesday, Aug. 6, at Mill River Park in downtown Stamford. It is part of its "Spielberg at Sunset" series, which will end with "Goonies" on Sept. 3.

Several other films have already been shown, including "E.T.," "Gremlins" and "Raiders of the Lost Ark."

"These are all cultural phenomenons," Nia Rhodes Jackson, director of programs and outreach for the Mill River Collaborative, said of the films.

They appeal to 30- and 40-year-olds who saw them when they were children. They draw older people who remember bringing those 30- and 40-year-olds to the movies as children. And they can be introduced to a new generation.

"Last year, we piloted doing movies for kids in our playground," said Rhodes Jackson. "It was a really big success."

The free evening showings have equally drawn the numbers, with people of all ages coming out to enjoy some modern classics. A DJ plays music prior to the screening, beginning at 6:30 p.m., and the movie plays at sunset. The viewing takes place on the east side of the park, off Washington Boulevard.

"It's nice to see people picnicking in the park," she said. "It's just a nice way to spend an evening."

Mill River Park, Mill River and West Broad streets, Stamford. Tuesday, Aug. 6, 6:30 p.m. Free. www.avontheatre.org, www.millriverpark.com.

christina.hennessy@scni.com/

Twitter: @xtinahennessy

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