Top Down is the Northwest Film Center's annual outdoor film series held atop the panoramic parking rooftop of the Hotel deLuxe. Classic, campy, and always entertaining, films screen on Thursday nights over the course of six weeks. This unique outdoor event also includes performances from local bands, cocktails, beers, and BBQ - all with a beautiful view of Portland's downtown skyline and the West Hills.
Since Top Down began, we've shown our films on a 12' x 9' rear-projection screen mounted on a metal frame. Compared to a screen you'd find in a typical indoor cinema, our screen was rather small. Yet we made it work, and our audiences kept coming back. Soon they were coming back with their friends. And their friends brought friends, until eventually, our audience was huge - much bigger than our screen, in fact. Now our annual Top Down audiences have grown to the extent that we need a larger screen to make proper use of the space we occupy. To put it another way, the people in the back can't see!
After extensive research into outdoor screens of all shapes and sizes, we've identified the screen that fits our proverbial bill. However, there are two issues we face: the environment and the cost.
As you might imagine, when you're five floors high in all the glory of the great outdoors, wind can be an issue. Our current screen, the good old 12' x 9' mounted on a metal frame, is the largest screen we can put on the roof if we choose to utilize a metal frame. Any larger, and we'll have effectively created a sail that the first gust of wind may well carry off into the wild blue yonder. We can secure the metal frame with ropes and sandbags, but that puts the stress of the wind resistance on the metal - specifically, on the rivets that hold the whole works together. Big gust of wind, rivets fail, screen falls apart. Ouch.
Thus, we decided to consider outdoor screens that are built of more durable materials, and we found the perfect screen. It's inflatable, it's made from lightweight yet extremely durable reinforced PVC material that will stand up to the wind, and when we secure it with ropes and sandbags, it will stay secure.
Best of all, it's bigger. The size of the screen, 20' x 11', is perfect for both the size of the audience and the size of the venue. It's a great thing for everyone involved, and we’re very excited to show it off.
But there's the second issue: the cost. The perfect Top Down screen isn't cheap, and for this reason, we need your help. We're a non-profit media arts organization, which means we have to make amazing things happen with very little budget (seriously! Check us out at nwfilm.org). Please contribute to our Top Down campaign and help bring our big screen dream to fruition!
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