Socially distanced cars park at the BIFF Drive-In. Photo courtesy of BIFF

BIFF Drive-In Movies


By now, most traditional movie theaters have reopened during the coronavirus pandemic. But if it’s still hard for you to stomach the idea of sitting in a theater with dozens of other people, then we’ve got a great alternative for you.

The Boulder International Film Festival is showing drive-in movies all summer long. No crowds, no long concession lines, no worries. You don’t even have to get out of your car, which really lowers your risk of spreading or contracting the virus.

For BIFF executive director Robin Beeck, the drive-in is a nostalgic summer treat that reminds her of Boulder decades ago.

“We’re thrilled to premiere the BIFF Drive-In in Boulder this summer,” says Beeck. “My sister Kathy and I have great memories from the Holiday Drive-In here in Boulder in the ’70s and ’80s. In this difficult time, this is an opportunity to bring back the drive-in, and to bring people together for a much-needed, shared movie experience.”

The BIFF Drive-In takes place at the Boulder Municipal Airport, 3327 Airport Road, on Saturdays from now through early fall. Gates open at 7:30 p.m. and films start at approximately 8:45 p.m. or whenever the sun goes down. Live music begins at 8 p.m. Calling all night owls!

The movies are being shown on a 40-foot screen. The spacious parking lot can comfortably host 150 cars — socially distanced, of course — with gorgeous views of the Flatirons and the sunset.

The huge movie screen at the BIFF Drive-In. Photo courtesy of BIFF

The series is a partnership with the city of Boulder and includes award-winning movies from past film festivals, including some new films that have not yet been released in Boulder.

Tickets are $30 per car, plus a small processing fee. If you’re coming on your own, there will be a limited number of $15 single-occupant tickets available for each show. You must purchase your ticket ahead of time, as the organizers are limiting all person-to-person contact at the events. Tickets are being scanned through car windows.

When you arrive, the staff will inform you of the FM radio frequency to tune your radio dial to for the film’s audio.

Cars are being parked nine feet away from each other, with staff directing each vehicle where to park based on the vehicle’s height (taller vehicles in the back, shorter in the front). If you’re planning to attend, you should know that you must pull forward into your assigned parking spot, rather than backing in. And no engine idling is allowed.

Socially distanced cars park at the BIFF Drive-In. Photo courtesy of BIFF

You’ll also need to keep your headlights off for the duration of the movie and stay inside your vehicle at all times — no chairs or blankets on the grass allowed. You also cannot sit in a truck bed or on a tailgate, nor can you socializing with other vehicles. No walk-ins, bikes or additional outdoor seating are allowed, and you must keep your vehicle’s doors closed at all times. Pets are also not allowed. Safety first, after all.

Though there are two portable toilets at each event, you’re encouraged to use the restroom before you leave home. No more than six people can be in line for the restrooms at one time. You must wear a mask if you exit your vehicle to use the restroom.

There aren’t concession stands here, but the organizers are encouraging guests to visit a local restaurant and grab takeout beforehand — support a small business and have “dinner and a movie” in your car. It’s a win-win!

Past films have included “Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President,” “Two Trains Runnin'” and BIFF Comedy Shorts.

Curious to know which films are part of the lineup? You’ll want to sign up for BIFF’s email newsletter to get the scoop. BIFF announces new films at noon on Fridays for the following week’s show.

Questions? Comments? Kudos? You can call the BIFF Box Office at 303-746-7628 or check out the BIFF website for more information:

What’s your favorite “new” activity that is making a comeback because of the coronavirus pandemic? We’d love to hear from you!

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