at the drive-in

Buzzy East End drive-in theater hosts Sundance Film Festival, featuring 6 world premieres

Buzzy East End drive-in theater hosts Sundance Film Festival

Moonstruck Drive-In at East River
Moonstruck Drive-in will host the Sundance Satellite Film Festival.  Courtesy of Midway

With the enthusiasm for drive-ins showing no signs of slowing, a local venue is bringing a popular film fest to Houston. Moonstruck Drive-in Cinema at East River will host the Sundance Satellite Film Festival from January 28 through February 2, the venue announced. The fest is a production of Houston Cinema Arts Society and Sundance Film Festival.

Moonstruck Drive-In Cinema (100 Bringhurst St.) is one of the only three 2021 Sundance Film Festival world premiere locations in Texas, according to a press release. The venue will accommodate up to 150 cars. Viewers can expect films projected on a 40-foot by 80-foot structure made of shipping containers. Doors open at 6:30 pm; films will begin at approximately 7:30 pm. Parking spots are first-come, first-served.

Food and drink come courtesy of some Fifth Ward and East End establishments, including Gulf Coast Distillers, Mingo’s Kitchen, Las Brasas Tacos, and Fork and Skewers. Portable restrooms will be available; guests are encouraged to wear masks and practice social distancing.

Tickets are available online, start at $30, and include a car permit and tickets for all passengers.

Fans can expect a “Beyond Film” series to compliment the official Sundance selections. Programming will include a screening of Miss Juneteenth, the Texas-based film that premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, at the historic DeLuxe Theater Pop Up Drive-In in the Fifth Ward on Sunday, January 31 at 7:30 pm.

Also on tap is a free virtual conversation between Miss Juneteenth director Channing Godfrey Peoples and acclaimed filmmaker Richard Linklater on January 28 at 4 pm (registration required). The Black Story Media Summit — Texas returns as an invite-only virtual platform on Tuesday, February 2 from 10 am-4:30 pm.

As for the films, here is the festival lineup, per festival organizers:

World premiere: Thursday, January 28 at 7:30 pm
As a CODA — Child of Deaf Adults — Ruby is the only hearing person in her deaf family. When the family’s fishing business is threatened, Ruby finds herself torn between pursuing her love of music and her fear of abandoning her parents. 

I Was a Simple Man
World premiere: Friday, January 29 at 7:30 pm
As a family in Hawai'i faces the imminent death of their eldest, the ghosts of the past haunt the countryside. 

World premiere: Saturday, January 30 at 7:30 pm
Two African American women who can "pass" as white choose to live on opposite sides of the color line in 1929 New York in an exploration of racial and gender identity, performance, obsession and repression. Based on the novella by Nella Larsen.

World Premiere: Sunday, January 31 at 7:30 pm
Ana is transported to a dreamlike and dangerous land where she joins an army of girls engaged in a never-ending war along a rugged coast. Though she finds strength in this exhilarating world, she comes to realize that she's not the killer they want her to be.

Judas and The Black Messiah
World Premiere: Monday, February 1 at 8 pm
FBI informant William O’Neal infiltrates the Illinois Black Panther party when J. Edgar Hoover fears charismatic leader Chairman Fred Hampton will emerge as a Black Messiah. O’Neal lives in fear of discovery and cannot escape the deadly trajectory of his betrayal.

Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir
World Premiere: Tuesday, February 2 at 7:30 pm
Amy Tan has established herself as one of America's most respected literary voices. Born to Chinese immigrant parents, it would be decades before the author of The Joy Luck Club would fully understand the inherited trauma rooted in the legacies of women who survived the Chinese tradition of concubinage.