By: Lou Maningas Cabalona
Remember family movie nights at the drive-in?
If you answered no, that’s ok. I am the same. There were no drive-in theaters in Manila where I grew up. And, news of a big mall chain in Pampanga City opening the country’s very first drive in last July confirmed my hunch that there were actually no drive-ins at all in the Philippines until today.
Yes, today amidst the Covid pandemic, old-school open-air theatres are having a renaissance across the USA and all over the world offering a great way to get out of the house while social distancing.
But how did this American pastime begin?
Interestingly, while outdoor drive-in screenings have been present since 1915, its official beginnings are traced to a New Jersey businessman who ventured into opening the very first drive-in theater in 1933, applying his patented invention on the layout of cars and height of ramps to ensure unobstructed views of the screen for all patrons. The business only lasted for 3 years but the concept caught on nationwide.
Eventually the patent itself was declared void in 1945 allowing for drive-in theaters to soar in popularity during the 50s and 60s when car ownership and suburban living was also booming. Ticket prices were cheaper and you didn’t even have to drive to the city to catch a movie.
It was a convenient option for families with young kids as one slogan for a drive in emphasized,
“The whole family is welcome, regardless of how noisy the children are”. Of course, it was also a popular choice for a date night.
Even if the advent of home entertainment and huge performance arenas rendered them nearly obsolete in the 80s, the good news is that they are back and if you missed the various drive in screenings that popped up in Chicago over the Summer, you still have a chance to catch a few more movies extending til October.
With its March screenings cancelled due to the pandemic, Asian Pop-Up Cinema, a bi-annual festival that showcases Asian movies in various Chicago locations in the spring and fall, are hosting a hybrid film festival with online and drive-in theater screenings from September 10 to October 10.
The festival offers 22 films from China, Hong Kong, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea and Taiwan with a special showing of Train To Busan, the popular Korean Horror film, and its sequel Peninsula just in time for Holloween.
Edward is the only entry from the Philippines in its Season 11 line up and similar to last year’s Philippines movie offering, Signal Rock, APUC has once again partnered with the Filipino Young Leaders Program (FYLPRO) to co-host the one night screening as a Fundraiser for the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization of high performing, next-generation leaders that have a passion for advancing the Philippines and the Filipino people.+
Edward is billed as a coming of age story of a young boy stuck in a public hospital with no one else to take care of his ailing father. Caught in a place where life itself is in limbo, the boy’s careless attitude reaches a screening halt when he experiences a bittersweet incident that pushes his life into transition and will make him a man amidst chaos and heartbreaking loss.
This is Director Thop Nazareno’s second feature film that won three awards at the 2019 Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival: Special Jury Prize, Best Production Design (Alvin Fransisco) and Best Supporting Actress (Ella Cruz). It also bagged the Best Film and Best Screenplay awards at the Young Critics Circle Awards 2020 while, lead Actor Louise Abuel won Best Actor at the 2020 Dhaka International Film Festival.
With Filipino Americans covering a large share of healthcare workers in the USA, FYLPRO and APUC is inviting the public to “Treat our front liners and their families to a movie”.
Edward is showing on October 3 at 730pm, the first week of Filipino American History Month, at the Davis Theater at the Lincoln Yards Mall lot at 1684 N Throop Street in Chicago. Tickets are at $150 per car, with a cap of 6 people pursuant to current Chicago Re-opening mandates. For tickets and more information, you can check out www.asianpopupcinema. org or go to bit.ly/edwardthemovie.
Teen Actor, Louise Abuel, who first appeared as Kevin Delgado in the top-rated television series 100 Days to Heaven at age 8, won Best Actor at the 18th Dhaka International Film Festival (DIFF) for the movie Edward. (Credits: Facebook)
Ella Cruz won Best Supporting Actress for her role as Agnes in Edward the Movie at the 2019 Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival. (Credits: T. Nazareno)
Edward (Abuel), his father’s only caretaker and one of the Hospital nurses’ unofficial errand boys meets and falls in love with new patient, Agnes (Cruz) in this coming of age story set within the confines of a Philippine Public Hospital (Credits: T. Nazareno)
Director Thop Nazareno will be the special guest during a pre-recorded Q&A with Louella Cabalona at the Edward Drive-In Movie Screening in Chicago on Oct 3 as part of Asian Pop-Up Cinema and FYLPRO’s fundraiser collaboration.
Behind the scenes: Director Thop Nazareno (right) works on a scene with Louise Abuel (2nd from right) who plays Edward and Dido Dela Paz (3rd from right) as Mario, Edward’s father (Credits: T. Nazareno)
Filipino Actor Christian Bables holding his Bright Star Award with FYLPRO alumni from the Midwest (clockwise from top left) Marjorie Baltazar, Louella and Baron Cabalona, Jan Paul Ferrer, Lakhi Siap, Abbey Eusebio, Dr. Melissa Palma, Everett Icao and Mark Calaguas (Photo Credits: Black Adobo Production)
Last year’s APUC and FYLPRO first movie screening collaboration, Signal Rock. served as the kick off for Filipino American History Month. In Photo: Pinay Visionaries Venus Veronica B. Leighton, Adeline A. Fajardo and Estrella R. Alamar (2nd to 4th fr left) receives their award of recognition from Consul General Gina Jamoralin and Dr. A. Gabriel Esteban (3rd and 2nd fr right) along with Ruben Salazar (far left) and Master of Ceremonies, Louella Cabalona (far right) (Photo Credits: Markus Allen Photography)
APUC Executive Director Sophia Wong Boccio (far right) and (fr L to R) the all volunteer staff of Asian Pop-Up Cinema, Gavin Guo, Haotian Gao, Kenny Zhao, Justin Kuo and Tracy Chan (Photo Credits: Abhishek Dasgupta/APUC) with Signal Rock lead actor Christian Bables (center)