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On July 18, 2020, about 150 Paris residents settled inside 38 electric boats floating on the Seine river to enjoy a free screening of Le Grand Bain — a 2018 comedy about a group of middle-aged men forming a synchronized swim team. The city's first "Cinema sur L'Eau," or "Cinema on Water," was organized by MK2 Cinemas to celebrate the June 22 reopening of the country's movie theaters, which had been shuttered since mid-March to stem the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus.
To comply with COVID-19 social distance guidelines, the boats, which could each accommodate up to six family members, and the deck chairs set up on the river bank to seat an additional 150 people, were situated at least six feet apart.
"It's been years, we're creating operations to take the cinema out of the cinema rooms as a promotion tool, and after the few months of confinement, we thought we needed a way to tell to the people and to tell to the world that cinemas are open in Paris, that Paris is one of the worldwide capital of cinema, and also to create a way for them to enjoy with their families a magnificent night," said Elisha Karmitz, CEO of MK2 Cinemas.
The fun event was timed to coincide with the opening of the annual Paris Plages, a beloved summertime tradition during which roads along the Seine are closed to turn the waterfront into a temporary beachfront. This year's celebration, which will be held from July 18, 2020, to August 30, 2020, has a myriad of fun activities in store for both kids and adults. They include swimming and water sports in the La Villette canal basin, workshops, board games, and numerous sports-related events to celebrate the XXXIII Olympic Games, which will be held in Paris from July 26, 2024, to August 11, 2024.
In the US, where a resurgence in COVID-19 cases has caused most movie theaters to remain closed, drive-in theaters are making a comeback. Popular in the 1950s, they allow cinema-goers to watch films, which are projected on a massive screen, from the comfort of their cars. While the experience previously entailed attaching a speaker to the car window, viewers can now obtain the audio by tuning into the appropriate frequency on their car radios. This has made it easy to instantly convert large empty fields, or even parking lots, into temporary drive-ins.
As a result, more than just movies are being transformed into drive-in events. In June 2020, music fans in Fort Collins, Colorado, were treated to a COVID-19 iteration of the popular annual Beanstalk Music & Mountains Festival. Entitled Beanstalk: At the Drive-In, the two-day event, held at the Holiday Twin Drive-In Movie Theater, allowed the occupants of almost 400 cars, to enjoy the live music without leaving the safety of their vehicles.
"The production angle went very smoothly," says festival co-owner and CEO Scott Hachey, who is also the guitarist of the band Magic Beans. "The social distancing aspect went very well as well, and we were excited with how our fans stuck next to their cars most of the time."
In other parts of the country, makeshift drive-ins have also been used for high-school graduations, church services, and even fitness classes. The innovative adaptations are just one of the many examples of how people worldwide are finding ways to enjoy normal activities during these unprecedented times.
Resources: Fastcompany.com, en.parisinfo.com, interestingengineering.com