City Pulse

By Mrinalini Kamath

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Though it’s not quite summer, NYC’s summer film festivals will be starting up soon. Take a picnic basket, a blanket and a few friends to stake out prime viewing spots, and you have the ingredients for lovely and inexpensive summer evening.

While it’s not the oldest festival, the most prolific is probably the Rooftop Films Summer Series. Named “Rooftop Films” after using founder Mark Elijah Rosenberg‘s tenement rooftop as the screening venue its first year, Rooftop hosts a Summer Film Series that runs every weekend from May 13th – August 20th, screening an eclectic mix of short and feature length films running the gamut from animation to narrative to documentary, in different boroughs and spaces (indoors and outdoors) throughout New York.

This year’s festival features premieres of independent films from both local and international filmmakers with ticket prices at $10 (cheaper than your local cineplex!). Rooftop also often features live music, director/cast Q&A and after parties with complimentary drinks. For more information, including this summer’s schedule, check out

If you’re determined to get your cinema fix for free, check out the Third Annual Summer Movie Series at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. Tom Cruise classic “Top Gun” kicks things off on May 27th. Seating begins at 7:30 and You are permitted to bring picnic blankets, lawn chairs, food and non-alcoholic beverages. The Intrepid’s series tends to focus more on family-type fare, so this year’s schedule also includes “Spiderman,” “The Goonies,” “Back to the Future,” “ET: The Extraterrestrial” and “Jurassic Park.” For more details, go to or follow the Intrepid on Facebook or Twitter.

Stay tuned for more summer film festival updates!

Originally published May 2011

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