Cinema East is returning this summer beginning Sunday, June 22 on the lawn of the French Legation Museum. Now in its fifth year, Cinema East gives local film buffs the chance to catch some of the hottest titles fresh off the festival circuit. The 2014 lineup features an outstanding list of films that made waves around the world, including this year’s SXSW Film Festival.
The curated list of film festival favorites for summer 2014 includes:
June 22: I Believe in Unicorns
June 29: Approaching the Elephant
July 6: Wild Canaries
July 20: Joy Kevin
August 3: The Foxy Merkins
August 17: Above All Else
August 31: The Heart Machine
The all ages screenings begin at 9 pm at the French Legation, with guests invited to BYOB, blankets and dogs. Before each film, the entire lawn turns into a pop-up party and market, with guests enjoying musical sets by DJs, local vendors selling fresh produce and the chance to win giveaways from local sponsors.
As a bonus, audiences can also enjoy the festival experience with live Q&As from visiting filmmakers following each screening. Add all of this to the $3 - $5 admission and weekly after parties at nearby venues, and it’s easy to understand why Cinema East has become many Austinites' favorite way to spend Sunday evening.
"I think it's been a long time coming, for us to still be existing in our fifth year," says Cinema East co-founder Maggie Lea. "We've really worked on a grassroots level year after year to build a strong and loyal community of filmgoers who enjoy our event as a whole. We have been doing it bit by bit, never with a lot of funding, but always very tenaciously."
Even with a growing fan base, Lea recognizes that nothing is guaranteed in the rapidly evolving east side. "We sort of leave it all up to gauging every summer whether or not people are still interested in this kind of production happening, especially in East Austin, in a neighborhood that is constantly changing and growing. With how chaotic and permeable the area is, I honestly think maybe this will be our last year running this series, but as long as we can keep going, we'll keep going," Lea says.
"If people really want the event to happen, we'll work hard every year to make it exist for them."