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HOT SPRINGS -- Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival officials have announced that the May 29 screening of "The Biggest Little Farm" will be a drive-in screening this year.

While the acclaimed festival is held in October, but Artistic Director Jennifer Gerber said the group tries to do at least one screening earlier in the year. With theaters closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, continuing the tradition meant finding a different way to show movies.

Drive-in theaters have seen a resurgence nationally because of the pandemic, and Gerber said turning this year's early screening into a drive-in style screening is a way of showing a movie while keeping the audience safe.

"We will definitely be enforcing social distancing," Gerber said, noting there will be spaces between vehicles and that audio from the movie will be made available through the radio so patrons can "keep their windows up."

The screening will be in the parking lot of Hot Springs Mall, 4501 Central Ave., near Sears.

Gerber said the group is partnering with city's tourism and promotions arm, Visit Hot Springs, which has a portable screen uses to show "Movies at the Market" at the Hot Springs Farmers & Artisans Market during the summer.

"The Biggest Little Farm," is a documentary about a family who left the city to attempt to start up their own farm, Gerber said, adding that officials chose the film because they were "looking for something uplifting."

She called the film "good for the widest range of people." Gerber said that she thinks the community will enjoy seeing a movie about a family overcoming their challenges, particularly at a time when the world is dealing with a pandemic.

Gerber said she is excited the festival is able to bring the drive-in experience to Hot Springs. She said, as far as she knows, this is the first time the festival has ever done a drive-in.

"I think that it's a good time for the theatrical model to get a refresh," Gerber said, noting that television setups have become so advanced that many people no longer go to movie theaters.

"I think people enjoy seeing a movie together," she said.

The festival is still planned for Oct. 9-17.

"We're preparing a range of contingency plans," Gerber said, noting officials will be be prepared to do both physical and virtual screenings "for those who don't feel safe" going to a movie in public.

"Everyone has a different comfort level," she said.

Tickets for the drive-in movie are $10 and can be preordered, but parking spaces will be first-come, first-served. Gerber suggested that those hoping to get better parking spots should arrive early. Sad Daddy, an Arkansas-based band, will perform prior to the screening.

Gates open at 6:30 p.m. Sad Daddy performs at 7:15 p.m., and the movie starts at 8:15 p.m.

NW News on 05/18/2020

Print Headline: Festival officials set drive-in screening

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