“Wow, I feel like I’m in Central Park watching a movie…it’s so nice to be out here.” That was just one of the positive comments made by local youth who attended a movie screening outside Breukelen Cornerstone, 715 East 105th Street, on Friday, July 15th, the second movie shown throughout Canarsie as part of PaleFO Cinema’s Outdoor Summer Movie Series.
It’s been a passion and a dream for PaleFO’s Founder Eileen Level to “produce and curate outdoor cinema events in a high-needs community that will serve and collaborate with historically underrepresented youth and act as a conduit to encourage positive recreations for the entire community.”
Teens, 14+, and young adults enjoyed a screening of Jordan Peele’s horror film, Get Out, along with trivia games, giveaways, and free popcorn, snacks and water. Peele was the first African-American to win an Academy award for Best Original Screenplay.
“It was awesome! When I left, a passerby entering the building across the street said, ‘This is something. My kids are watching from their window.’ A perfect night,” another resident said.
The evening was a success thanks to many collaborators, including Norine Medas, Founder of the Rockaway Parkway Merchants Association, who provided gift cards from various merchants, to be won by audience members during the pre-show’s “Black Horror Movie Trivia.”
Canarsie Community Development Inc. President Harold Jones provided community and event consultation, and the Hebrew Educational Society provided free PPE supplies.
Shola Fakoya, Founder of Canarsie Youth In Action, brought a group of youth from her organization to attend.
Volunteers pitched in too, such as a resident that Level meet at a recent 69th Precinct Community Council meeting as well as a youth resident of the Bayview Houses who performed at the first movie screening in May. Both helped with setup and breakdown.
Thanks to Breukelen Cornerstone for providing the venue and extended SYEP (Summer Youth Employment Program) staff support with setup and breakdown, as well as community outreach by distributing flyers around the Breukelen Houses. And, last but not least, the 69th Precinct/PSA1 provided security.
A guy walking by the screening was in shock, saying, “I can’t believe this is my neighborhood! I hope you do it more than once a year even though it’s a bad area. The community needs it.”
Level plans to host a few more screenings throughout Canarsie this summer in collaboration with other local organizations in hopes of increasing her audience and overall reach into the community. This second screening had larger attendance, but Level feels they still have a long way to go.
Anyone who has access to a network of youth, or would like to help sponsor a screening, should contact Eileen Level at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Amplify Cinema. Impact Community.”
Photos courtesy of PaleFO Cinema