Free Community Walk-In Movie Theater in San Francisco
Free Community Walk-In Movie Theater in San Francisco
Help build a one-of-a-kind walk-in movie theater. Let's bring free outdoor film to San Francisco!
Help build a one-of-a-kind walk-in movie theater. Let's bring free outdoor film to San Francisco! Read more
About this project
Wouldn't it be great to have a place in the center of San Francisco where you could watch free movies outside with your friends?
The experience of going to the movies is about more than watching a story play out on the big screen. It's about exploration and immersion. It's about finding something new, or revisiting something comforting. The characters we meet and the places we travel through movies influence the way we see the world and increase our capacity for empathy.
Drive-in theaters provide an additional dimension to the movie watching experience: they allow us to watch a film under the stars. The open air theater encourages casual social interactions that don't typically happen in an indoor theater.
When we watch a film outside, we huddle under blankets, share picnic baskets full of snacks, and lean against friends to get a better view. We laugh and gasp and cover our eyes when we know what's coming next. We feel connected to something much larger than ourselves. When we come together with our neighbors to share in the experience of watching a film outside, we feel like we belong.
PROXY believes that the outdoor movie experience is due for a remake that is simultaneously contemporary, familiar, and delightful.
The PROXY walk-in movie theater will be a place where everyone will be able to share in the experience of watching a movie with their neighbors in the open air. Your help is crucial to making the walk-in theater a reality.
Watching a film at the PROXY walk-in movie theater will be an accessible urban experience that is free and open to whomever strolls by. Families, couples, roving groups of friends, and yes, dogs, are all invited to be a part of a community that PROXY is building around outdoor film.
If the project is fully funded, the inaugural film series, the PROXY Fall Film Festival, will feature recently released, best-of-show selections from festivals like SXSW and Sundance, focusing on independent and emerging voices in film. These are films that don't often get to be seen outdoors, much less at the center of a bustling corridor like Hayes Valley.
The PROXY walk-in theater is committed to ensuring that everyone feels represented in the programming that will flicker to life on the screen. We're assembling a power group of film heavyweights and local cultural producers to share in bringing top-notch films to the space. The programming will be as diverse as the people, histories, and ideas that make the San Francisco Bay Area a colorful and illuminating place to live.
Though these films will certainly interest the film buffs of the Bay Area, they will also appeal to those for whom outdoor film is largely an excuse for a picnic. You'll want to pencil in screenings that interest you, but the hope is that you'll also be drawn in to a screening that you wouldn't ordinarily have thought to attend. We want the serendipity of a walk-in theater to become your ritual of outdoor film and communal experience.
By backing this project and helping PROXY meet its funding goal, your tax-deductible donations (more on that below) will make it possible for PROXY to purchase the equipment and fund the programming necessary for a successful walk-in theater.
Primary Funding Goal: $150,000
- a digital projector with 20,000 lumens capable of projecting high-quality images on a large outdoor screen
- finishing the solid surface movie screen
- an additional steel column to support a screen with 2.35:1 aspect ratio
- the power supply and cords necessary to turn it all on
Stretch Goal #1: $175,000
- a distributed sound system capable of producing high quality sound at a lower total decibel level—chosen with our Hayes Valley neighbors in mind
Stretch Goal #2: $200,000
- additional seating options and ground covering to make the viewing experience more comfortable
- additional lighting + vastly improved free, public wifi to enable video streaming
Stretch Goal #3: $250,000
- "Box Office" + Projection Booth: two additional shipping containers that will allow the projector to be safely and securely stored when not in use. The weatherproof projection booth will allow the projector to live at PROXY 24/7, giving us flexibility in scheduling screenings and reducing the hassle and potential for damage when moving the projector back and forth from storage. The projection booth will also allow a screening to be controlled remotely, which opens the door for some exciting opportunities for spectacle.
As a backer of our campaign, you'll be among the first people to learn the full line-up and schedule. Check out the incentives to learn how you can gain access to exclusive Q&A sessions with filmmakers, actors, and critics who will be featured in the 2015 PROXY Fall Film Festival.
At this point, you may be asking yourself, "What is PROXY?"
PROXY is a result of neighborhood requests to the SF Mayor’s Office to activate the largely fenced-off Octavia Boulevard vacant lots. PROXY was born as a placeholder for a more permanent development: its limited lease—originally only 3 years—was a call to action for the designers of envelope A+D and for the neighborhood to roll up their collective sleeves and start something.
Envelope A+D didn't have deep pockets to fund PROXY. What envelope A+D did have were a lot of talented, inspiring friends and colleagues who were willing to take a risk to see what could be accomplished with limited resources and time.
Fast forward to today. PROXY is now composed of seven rooted vendors (Aether Apparel, Basic Training, Biergarten, Juice Shop, Ritual Coffee Roasters, Smitten Ice Cream, and Streets of San Francisco Bike Tours), a regularly appearing collection of food and retail trucks, rotating art installations, and as many one-off events as the PROXY team can vet and produce.
PROXY has been so successful that the City of San Francisco agreed to extend its lease through the year 2020. When the project received that windfall of time, PROXY took that as the push it needed to move forward on a number of ambitious initiatives: the walk-in movie theater being the primary example.
The lease extension also prompted envelope A+D and PROXY to think about the legacy of the project. PROXY has always been a "meanwhile" solution, a stand-in for a permanent occupant. But, the project was not conceived as a throwaway. Instead, PROXY was thought of as "seeding" vibrancy in a place that had previously been evaluated only to have potential as a surface-level parking lot.
So, in order to build the capacity to quickly deploy temporary solutions wherever they're needed, envelope A+D and PROXY formed a 501(c)3 organization called HERE FOR NOW.
HERE FOR NOW is a new kind of arts nonprofit that is dedicated to creating centers of cultural vibrancy through temporary interventions focused on art and design. HFN's first official order of business will be funding and programming the walk-in movie theater and the PROXY Fall Film Festival.
Not only does this mean that positive, community-led change will exist long after 2020, but you can elect to donate without receiving a reward, which will make your donation fully tax-deductible.
(All other donations will be tax-deductible for the amount donate less the retail value of the reward.)
PROXY has become a hub for the people who live and work in and around Hayes Valley. It is a cafe, an office, a playground, a bar, a gym, an art gallery and a street fair. PROXY's founders have invested tens of thousands of dollars in order to make the project what it is today, but it has reached the point when that's no longer a viable way to move forward.
PROXY and HERE FOR NOW need the collective power of the community to make free outdoor films a reality for everyone.
This is your opportunity to invest yourself in your block, your street, your neighborhood, your city, your region, and push us to the finish line. This is your chance to contribute to the next great public amenity in San Francisco and the Bay Area.
What People Say About PROXY:
“Crowds flock to hang out at the Suppenkuche’s Biergarten, a scene at night. The architecture is simple. The vibe is friendly. The changing layout conforms to a neighborhood in flux. Local merchants feared Proxy would steal customers away. Instead, it has brought people to the neighborhood.” - Michael Kimmelman, A Streetcorner Serenade for the Public Plaza, The New York Times, May 2013
“In Hayes Valley, local architectural firm Envelope A+D has proved that the most intriguing architecture isn’t necessarily the most permanent.” - Sylvia Brownrigg , Elle Decor Returns to San Francisco, Elle Decor, November 2013
"Design Vanguard “[PROXY] embodies Burnham’s aim to make you rethink the building—or the entire neighborhood with a simple but unexpected gesture.” - William Hanley, Design Vanguard Feature, Architectural Record, 2012
“Proxy represents a unique coming together of entities typically at odds with each other — planning and building departments, communities, architects.” - Allison Arieff, The Rise of Tactical Urbanism, The Urbanist, December 2011
"This isn't about architecture so much as urban place making: you're less aware of the structures than of the surroundings. The containers aren't treated as sculptural elements, as is the case recently in other international cities. They're content to add layers to the landscape, enlarging the Hayes Valley experience without making a fuss." - John King, City's little boxes, but these look pretty good, San Francisco Chronicle, November 2011
Risks and challenges
Well, we've never done this sort of thing before. But we had never pulled off something like PROXY either, and look at us now!
1. Meeting the Programming Desires of the Community
We have gathered a team of people and like-minded institutions who are committed to ensuring that the programming hosted at the outdoor movie venue will be diverse, explorative, fun, and welcoming.
Disposable Film Festival
...and we're having discussions about collaborating with other cultural partners every day.
2. Building a Walk-In Theater
As with any construction project, there's a potential for delay. Luckily, we have an incredibly talented team of designers and project managers from envelope A+D who will be donating their time to ensure that the capital improvements are done as efficiently and as effectively as possible.
3. What Will Happen in 2020?
It's always possible that our lease could be extended again, but if it isn't, we plan to continue to activate the city through our new urban activation nonprofit: HERE FOR NOW. Who knows what could happen next?Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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