By Cicero A. Estrella
Fort Mason Flix provided thousands of households and COVID-19 “social pods” an innovative way to break free of the pandemic isolation doldrums. But as the Bay Area and the rest of California slowly but surely return to normal, the pop-up drive-in theater with the gorgeous San Francisco Bay backdrop is set to say goodbye.
Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture has announced that its popular retro form of entertainment will screen its final films on Sunday, June 27 to make way for the return of arts programming, restaurants and retail on campus.
“As more cultural organizations like FMCAC prepare to reopen, now is the time to give Fort Mason Flix the celebratory sendoff it deserves,” Mike Buhler, president and CEO of FMCAC, said. “Flix has been embraced by San Franciscans and exceeded our expectations in offering fun, safe entertainment, and helping cultural organizations across the City engage their audiences throughout the pandemic.”
FMCAC is bidding farewell to Flix with a month-long celebration that will include ticket discounts and giveaways, and free screenings.
A “Farewell to Flix” community block party will be thrown on Saturday, June 26, held in conjunction with that day’s West Coast Craft’s outdoor market. The block party will feature all-day film screenings, food trucks from FMCAC resident Off the Grid, family art activities from FMCAC residents and access to the more than 80 artist- and maker-vendors of the craft market.
Fort Mason Flix was intended as a pop-up for fall 2020 when it launched in September, but the overwhelming response from movie-goers prompted renewals for winter and spring that eventually led to its 10-month run. Over that span, more than 250 films were screened to an audience that totaled more than 90,000 people. The pop-up—which turned out to be San Francisco’s first drive-in theater since the early 1950s—hosted several film festivals, including CAAM Fest, SFFILM, Sundance Film Festival, Berlin & Beyond Film Festival, International Ocean Film Festival, San Francisco Jewish Film Festival and Frameline45.
The June movie lineup was chosen by staff members alongside programming from local cultural organizations, including the SF Girls Chorus, KQED and Frameline45. As has been the case from the start, two films will be shown nearly every night—the early shows featuring family-friendly films such as “Raya and the Last Dragon” and “The Emperor’s New Groove,” while the later films like “John Wick” and “Do the Right Thing” are geared toward a more mature audience.
Tickets are $49 per vehicle. Fort Mason Flix is located at 2 Marina Blvd., San Francisco. For more information, including the June movie schedule, visit fortmason.org/event/flix.
Photo credit: Charlie Villyard