Vilnius airport becomes a drive in cinema

Moviegoers were able to watch the film 'Parasite' on the first day of opening while watching planes take off from nearby runway.

For the first time in history, a drive-in cinema has been set up in an airport apron area, where planes are usually parked, unloaded, refuelled and boarded.

The ‘Aerocinema - The Journey Begins’ project, which kicked off this month at Vilnius International Airport and will run until the end of May, is part of the Vilnius International Film Festival (Vilnius IFF).

Despite growing and continuously adding new destinations in recent years, Vilnius International Airport has quietened while waiting for international travel restrictions to be lifted. The organisers of Vilnius IFF saw this downtime as a brilliant opportunity to screen films while movie theatres are closed.

The project is a sign of support to both the aviation and movie industries, which are going through difficult times as a result of the restrictions caused by the pandemic.

According to Algirdas Ramaška, General Director of Vilnius IFF, people are longing to travel and experience the excitement we often feel at airports while waiting to embark on a new journey.

“We want to create a unique experience. Going out onto an airport apron, which is usually only possible to access after check-in, is an exciting experience,” Ramaška said. “I think these screenings will leave an impression on audiences that will last a lifetime."

Up to 200 cars will be able to fit into the screening area at once to watch a movie. The project’s organisers have also made sure that everyone will be able to see every detail of each film, thanks to the largest screen in the Baltic States, which is roughly the size of a five-storey building. The sound system, on the other hand, has been traded in for car radios, just like traditional drive-in theatres. It promises to be an exciting experience – no comments from strangers in the back rows and a perfect view for everyone.

Dainius Čiuplys, the head of Vilnius Airport said: "Implementing this project was a pleasant challenge for us – we had to remake the airport apron, which is a restricted area, into a space open to film lovers.

He added: "It is a nice opportunity to be a part of the whole process and at the same time to show that airports perfectly combine aviation activities with events and projects of various formats. I believe that after the drive-in cinema events, there will be even more lovers not only of good cinema, but also of aviation.”

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