As of Wednesday, the Martha’s Vineyard Film Society will restore a measure of normality to the movie-going experience. The center will reopen for near-daily indoor screenings and weekly outdoor showings, as allowed under Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan.
“It’s an easy start to reopening that we hopefully will grow upon,” said director Rich Paradise.
For indoor screenings, up to 25 patrons will be accommodated in the Film Center, the largest of the society’s three theaters (which usually seats up to 175). Masks, temperature checks, and social distancing will be required. No concessions will be sold, but Paradise said audiences are free to bring their own. (Microwave popcorn, anybody?) Movies scheduled for indoor screening include 2020 releases “The Trip to Greece,” “Boys State,” “John Lewis: Good Trouble,” and “Emma.”
Every Tuesday at 8:30 p.m., the society will start screening a family-friendly favorite on a 20-foot screen outside the Featherstone Center for the Arts. These events will allow up to 80 patrons, with each household confined to their own eight-foot circle painted on the lawn — “like crop circles,” Paradise explained. The series kicks off July 14 with a sold-out screening of Danny Boyle’s “Yesterday” (2019). As an added treat, a musician will play some Beatles covers before the showing.
Tickets for indoor and outdoor screening must be purchased in advance at www.mvfilmsociety.com.
Paradise said the center is able to open so early because of its economic status. “Twenty-five people in a theater is not economically feasible usually,” he said. “But we’re nonprofit, and I’m able to pay my rent and five employees regardless of whether we open.”
The society also benefits from its location on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, which has been hit less hard by the pandemic. Dukes County reported a total of 51 reported cases as of July 7.
There society has no plans to reopen its historic Capawock and Strand theaters this summer, but online programming will continue via the society’s Film Center’s website. Other Massachusetts independent theaters, like the Coolidge Corner Theatre and Cape Ann Community Cinema, have not yet confirmed their reopening plans.
Diti Kohli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @ditikohli_