Hill Talk: Movies Under — and About — the Stars

Posted September 11, 2009 at 4:29pm

The Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District is following its summer outdoor movie series with a fall series straight out of the stars.

With an outer-space theme, the BID will show movies on Thursday nights at 7:30 through Oct. 1 at M and Second streets Southeast adjacent to the Navy Yard Metro station on the green line. It started last week with “Star Wars,— and organizers will show “Toy Story,— “Spaceballs— and “Apollo 13— before the series ends. Spectators are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets, as well as a picnic supper.

BID Deputy Executive Director Claire Schaefer said the fall series will build on the momentum of the summer’s successful series.

“We had about 300 people every night,— she said. “We had great giveaways. We ended up doing the ‘American Idol’ Wii game beforehand.—

Though this is the first time Capitol Riverfront has hosted a fall movie series, 2009 marked the second summer of outdoor movies for the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood. This summer’s theme, 1980s films, was chosen in an online survey months before the season began. Schaefer said the fall movies were chosen through surveys passed out during the summer, and she expects they’ll use an online survey to pick next summer’s theme, too. In their first summer, the neighborhood chose a baseball theme to highlight its proximity to the new Nationals Park.

ASG Sports provides equipment for the movie nights.

Films on the Hill Program Goes Dark

After 10 years, the Films on the Hill program screened its last movies in August. John Stone, director of Films on the Hill and a mechanical engineer for the Navy, said the program began as a way to make use of the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop’s aptly named Black Box Theatre at 545 Seventh St. SE.

“When they contacted me, the theater wasn’t being used that much and they wanted to get more use out of it,— Stone said. “We never thought it would go for 10 years.—

Films on the Hill began showing older and hard-to-find films about three times a month in September 1999. The screenings attracted a crowd of Hill residents and film aficionados from around the city. Stone said organizers tried to show silent films about every third screening. The group’s last showing at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop’s Black Box Theatre was a double feature of “Passage to Marseille— and “The Conspirators.— The two stories featured many actors and off-screen workers from Casablanca in World War II-era spy movies, and Stone said it was interesting to see actors who had played good guys in a similar plot play bad guys in these, and vice versa.

The CHAW no longer has a problem filling the Black Box Theatre, though: It is booked through December with a variety of local and CHAW-associated theater, dance and musical performances.