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Local outdoor film festival marks 10th anniversary

IMAGINE SPENDING A lazy summer evening relaxing while watching one of your favourite movies in a park, surrounded by all your friends, for practically no cost. Lucky for all of us cash-strapped students, that’s a possibility here in the city.

Taking place in Dundonald Park, the Centretown Movies Outdoor Film Festival has been revitalizing the movie-going experience for film fans who are tired of stuffy and cramped movie theatres.

Beginning as an initiative to utilize areas in the city that weren’t being used to their full potential, the festival has been a summer staple in Ottawa for the past 10 years.

“I think originally the whole idea was to use underused spaces in the city for whatever purpose. I’m not too sure where the first location [of the festival] was, but it’s been in Dundonald Park for the last few years,” explains Laura Johnston, one of Centretown Movies’ volunteers.

The festival is also a cheap way for students to have fun over the summer. It’s a pay-what-you-can event that’s for a good cause. The festival pairs up with local not-for-profit organizations, such as Good Food Box and Ottawa Public Health. The money collected at every Friday night screening goes toward one of the organizations.

“The best part of it is giving these smaller not-for-profit organizations a platform to present themselves. I had never heard of a lot of these places,” says Johnston.

With films such as When Harry Met Sally, A Powerful Noise, and Eat, Pray, Love, there are many movies to enjoy regardless of your taste in films.

“We choose movies from different categories. So this year we have Canadian, blockbuster, a classic, and then we try to find movies that [we] haven’t done [before],” says Johnston.

Although there are no concession stands, audiences are encouraged to bring their own food, drinks, lawn chairs, and blankets. However, no alcohol is permitted on the grounds.

If you’re sick of the skyrocketing prices of summer festivals here in Ottawa and would like to enjoy watching a movie in a different environment, then Centretown Movies Outdoor Film Festival is definitely one you should visit.

Centretown Movies Outdoor Film Festival runs every Friday and Saturday from July 22 to Aug. 20. For more information visit

—Sofia Hashi