Return of the Renegade Picture Show

It’s been some time and I’ve decided to re-launch the Renegade Picture Show in all its glory this August with RPS #24. Not sure what will be shown at this time or which Saturday evening it’s going to be just yet so stay tuned.

I was updating the site today, clicking through the links on the links page and was pretty shocked to find that there are very few guerrilla drive-ins left in the US. I think this is a result of the pressures of the film industry’s regulating body and licensing folks hard at work putting the hammer down – way to go Swank and Criterion.

“It’s stealing,” they say. (Do I want to get into the collective argument of copyright fair-use, right now? Kind of, but I’ll sidestep for now.)

In any case, the popularity of outdoor movie showings has skyrocketed. Here in the OKC metro it seems like everyone has some sort of movie night. On the river, at the botanical gardens, at the waterpark, at the amusement park, at the community park….so the whole thing is pretty much mainstream now.

So we must have been on to something.

Drive-in movies have always been fun and clearly there are a multitude of ways to present films to make them more fun. I’m mean really, how many times can you see Ghostbusters (the original one, of course) just sitting on your couch? But if you take that same film and present it in an abandoned building and intersperse the showing with fog, lighting, and maybe some aberrations that randomly appear on the walls – now you’re talking fun.

With the Renegade Picture Show I’ve always been interested in the combination of the social interaction along with the film and the environment. You never can tell what’s going to happen at a show. As the projectionist and producer there are no guarantees that what I’ve put together in the order that I have arranged it, is going to work seamlessly – which is kind of ok – though, like DJ-ing, its nice when it flows. But there are always the outside factors that come into play. Like having fireworks as a backdrop to the movie Bottle Rocket. Things like that aren’t planned, they just happen.

I’m looking at some new ways to implement live content – streaming audience commentary – into the program to spice it up a bit. Maybe it’s a twitter feed or some other platform. In a similar vein to MST3000 but as live streaming content from the audience itself so it appears on screen at the bottom. This would work great with well-known cult-classic films but can work equally well with obscure no-name films.

What I’m getting at here is thinking outside the norm a bit as we open this up for a new round of shows.

And while it’s sad to search the links and see so many of the old guerrilla drive-ins gone away, it’s cool to know that this one, though limping ahead, is still alive. And who knows, maybe we can inspire some like-minded individuals and revive some of the underground guerrilla drive-in community.

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