This summer marks the 20th season of Brooklyn’s beloved outdoor film series, Movies with a View. The theme for this slate of films is “Better the Second Time Around,” and will feature popular films shown over the course of the series’ history, and films that weren’t able to be shown due to rainouts. The Conservancy works with a dedicated group of volunteers who choose the films that are shown each year. We sat down with Veasna Has, Chair of the Film Committee, to discuss her involvement with the program and what you can expect for Movies with a View this year:
What do you do when you’re not in the park?
When I’m not in the Park, I work just by the northern edge of it in DUMBO at the home of Brooklyn Arts Council, where I serve as the Communications Manager of the borough’s service organization for Brooklyn’s artists. I’ve always worked in the arts in New York and was happy to find a way to devote some of my free time to support access to films, through the Conservancy’s Film Committee.
How did you first hear about Movies with a View?
When I first moved to the city six years ago, one of my favorite summer activities was going to all of the outdoor film series in the parks, usually alone since I didn’t know too many people yet. I think movie-watching is a very solitary experience anyway, but it’s nice to have a communal viewing experience outdoors. Movies with a View was by far my favorite because nothing beats that Lower Manhattan skyline next to the (inflatable) silver screen.
What makes movies at Brooklyn Bridge Park unique?
I can’t say that I’ve attended all of the outdoor film series in New York City, but Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy’s outdoor series has a view that’s very hard to beat. It’s also such a full experience, what with the pre-show DJ set, curated short film, and food vendor options. It’s a lively time for everyone, whether you’ve planned a picnic and viewing outing with your friends or you’ve just stumbled across a screening in the Park.
How did you get involved with the Film Committee?
A couple years ago the Conservancy put out a call for new volunteers for the Film Committee on social media, so I applied because I really wanted to see what the behind-the-scenes process was like. It’s a relatively low commitment with your homework being to watch and then discuss films with a bunch of other film-lovers, so it’s pretty great.
What do you do as Film Committee Chair?
Alongside Conservancy staff, I help steer our dedicated Film Committee volunteers through the process of brainstorming and deciding upon a series theme, coming up with a starter list of movies that fit, and narrowing and voting the list down to the one that end up being our final series schedule.
What have you enjoyed most/ what was your favorite part of being involved this year?
This was my first year as Chair and I really did enjoy the challenge of taking on more responsibility in that role. We also welcomed a number of new Committee members this year and it was great having new voices in the mix.
Which movie are you most excited to see this year on the big screen?
Pariah. I had never seen this film before I joined the Film Committee and it’s an absolutely beautiful and tender story. It got rained out at a previous series so I’m really excited that we were able to bring it back for the kickoff for this summer.
What would you like others to know about the 20th Anniversary of Movies with a View?
Three films in this series were directed by women of color, and that’s not by chance. I’m so proud to be part of a Committee that understands the importance of representation behind the camera, and am pumped for everyone to enjoy the work of these storytellers in the Park.