Take a trip ‘Back to the Drive-In’, a film by April Wright ( @driveindoc ) coming to Digital & On Demand March 14, 2023


When the pandemic hit the planet in early 2020 pretty much everything was impacted around the globe and whilst we cant compare apples to oranges, for film fans one of the main things that we focused on  (but not THE main thing of course) was that cinemas closed! Yes we still have and had streaming, and for many of us we had the chance to plough through our piles of physical media to fill our desire for film content. But it wasn’t just the same was it.  We missed the cinemas but for obvious health and safety reasons, the cinemas were a big no no for quite a while and so for many the drive-in cinemas were suddenly the only safe venue in town and saw increased numbers of people visiting and enjoying that outdoors and somewhat communal experience.  For me my knowledge of drive in theatres comes from watching American movies, or listening to people who have visited drive in’s talk about their experiences and whilst there a few drive in theatres here in the UK, there are only a few and I don’t have a car so for me viewing is either in a bricks and mortar cinema or at home (on a projector or large TV) and so with a lot of interest, I checked out the documentary ‘Back to the Drive-in’

April Wright, director of Stuntwomen: The Untold Hollywood Story which I watched only a couple of months ago and which I highly recommend, has written and directed this fascinating feature length documentary, filmed in the summer of 2021 that takes us on a wonderfully human journey to visit 11 very different drive-ins in 8 states all over the USA, we get an insight into what its like to run this type of business, from the preparations that go into everything way before the customers even arrive to enjoy their film experience , we learn more about selling the tickets, opening and running the snack bar, and of course getting the movie on the screen in the first place, we learn about the technology, the maintenance of it as well as looking after the drive in ground itself and to say I really enjoyed this doc is a huge understatement. 

‘Back to the Drive-in’ took me back to my own days of running a video store and the hardships that go into it, and the things that need to be done to maintain it, and also the side of the business that the paying customers never see. The owners and staff of the theatres share some of the hardships that these family-owned businesses go through and we learn that whilst the news reported that business was booming, we learn that some of them are actually struggling to survive and not the cash cows that many news outlets claimed they were. We get to spend some time with the real people behind these businesses and whilst there is such a lovely side to hanging out with these genuine people. there is also a sad side to seeing just how hard they have to work to keep a business going now that the concrete multiplexes have opened back up and people head back into those buildings and less to the fields of the drive in theatres. April has captured the real human side to the drive in’s and its one of those documentaries that will stay with me long long after the end credits have ended.  Highly recommended if you are a film fan.

Writer-Director April Wright

You can learn more about the drive in theatres featured in the documentary here

1800 W Pearl St, Granbury, Texas, 76048

13427 N. 300th Street, Valley, NE 68064

6655 S. Transit Rd, Lockport, NY 14094

10700 New York Highway 32, Greenville, New York 12083

51 State Highway, Route 6. Wellfleet, MA. 02667

1175 S Sangamon Ave, Gibson City IL 60936

223 NE 4th Street. Fort Worth, TX 76164

10798 Ramona Ave Montclair, CA, US 91763

5301 N Interstate Highway 45
Ennis TX 75119

3417 Eastern Blvd. Middle River, MD 21220

V602 Township Rd 6
Liberty Center, Ohio 43532

Coming to Digital & On Demand March 14, 2023

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.