Affordable North: Free Movies at Traverse City's Open Space Cinema

Looking for a night out with the family? In the market for an evening on the cheap? Not to worry, the Traverse City Film Festival is happy to oblige. This week, the festival provides nightly free films at the Open Space in downtown Traverse City, consistently some of the most popular festival events.

Past Hollywood blockbusters are projected on a huge inflatable screen, with Grand Traverse Bay and the darkening summer sky as the backdrop. Each night, the official start time is 9:30 p.m., but dusk would be more accurate—films start when the area is dark enough.

The nightly films are the festival’s not-so-well-kept secret; expect lawn chairs, picnic baskets and children, and don’t be afraid to bring any of these things yourself. All films are rated PG or PG-13.

Open Space is on the bay, where Union Street meets Grandview Parkway.

Open Space Cinema Free Film Lineup

Tuesday, July 28: Men in Black (1997) – Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith are black-suited, sunglasses-wearing government agents who police the Earth’s alien population. Think of this film as conspiracy theories made fun.

Wednesday, July 29: Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) – One of director Steven Spielberg’s early blockbuster hits, the movie stars Richard Dreyfuss as a man in search of UFOs after a close encounter. The real stars, though, are the special effects and that five note sequence, the one you’ll hum long after the film is over.

Thursday, July 30: Hair (1979) – The film version of the hit Broadway show. Oklahoma-born Claude travels to New York to enlist in the army and eventually fight in Vietnam, but falls in with a group of hippies who make him rethink his military choice, among other things. The film has many memorable songs and one memorable scene you should consider PG-13.

Friday, July 31: The Goonies (1985) – Two generations of kids have grown up with this adventure story, in which a gang of kids, led by Sean Astin in his debut role, hunt for the pirate treasure of One-Eyed Willy to save their homes from developers.

Saturday, August 1: Big (1988) – Tom Hanks is a child in the body of an adult in this film that does so much with a common formula. Hanks injects fun, charm and a sense of childish excitement, and, yes, he dances on a giant keyboard with Robert Loggia.

Sunday, August 2: Rainout- any movie cancelled for weather will be shown on this night

Have questions, or need more information about any of these films? Visit or call 231-392-1134.

Find Out More About the Traverse City Film Festival:

Digital 2009 Filmgoer Guide

Click the Digital 2009 Filmgoer Guide below to find info on the festival: Where to eat with a view between films, great drinks and hundreds of links to websites.

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