Back to the Drive-in feature documentary finishing funds

By April Wright
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This campaign has ended. It raised $29,002, reaching its minimum goal.
This documentary is about the current struggles of drive-in movie theaters. It's for people who love movies, the theatrical experience, Americana, small businesses, documentaries, female filmmakers, community, family.
Back to the Drive-in feature documentary finishing funds
Film

uploaded imageTHE REAL STORY OF DRIVE-INS IN 2022


The new drive-in documentary from April Wright director of "Going Attractions: The Definitive Story of the American Drive-in Movie."  

 

When the pandemic hit, drive-ins were suddenly the only safe venue in town, with press coverage about how drive-ins are "back," and how they are thriving.

 

But this documentary goes behind the headlines to learn the truth, spending a whole night with 11 very different drive-ins in 8 states all over the country, from preparations before the customers arrive, to selling tickets, opening the snack bar, and getting the movie on screen, we discover these family-owned businesses are actually struggling to survive. Although they are all very different, they are dealing with the same challenges.

 

This doc is about authentic drive-ins and the passionate people who run them, but more broadly it highlights questions about the future of the theatrical experience, and the challenges of many small businesses, wondering whether they will survive and make it to the other side of the pandemic. It's a story of resilience and the human spirit.

 

The film is 105 minutes. It was shot in 4K during the summer of 2021.

 

 

HELP ME FNISH THE FILM


This is an indie doc that has been self-funded by the filmmaker to date. Funding will go towards finishing the documentary, which includes color correction, audio clean-up, design and mix, original score, graphics, technical post work, all exports. Goals are based on actual quotes for the work which total over $25,000. Your contributions are crucial to help get this film across the finish line!

 

 

BACKGROUND ON THE PROJECT

 

"Back to the Drive-in" is a feature-length documentary that takes us behind the scenes to get to know the families who own and operate drive-ins today. Although drive-ins received a lot of press and attention as a result of the pandemic, the truth is that they are struggling, and yet the owners are hopeful they can keep their drive-ins alive for future generations.

 

My first documentary about the history of drive-ins came out in 2013, on the 80th anniversary of the first drive-in movie theatre which opened in 1933.  In summer of 2021, I took a long road trip from Los Angeles to Cape Cod, visiting 11 different family-owned and operated drive-ins in 8 states, spending a day/night with each one - from their preparation in the afternoon, to when they open the gates and cars start to arrive, to opening the snack bar, getting the movie on screen once it's dark enough, and later in the night when they can finally take a break before intermission, to check how they're doing. 

 

What we learn during the course of the night, is that even though these drive-ins are all different, in different parts of the country, different sizes and number of screens, some have been around since the 50s, some just opened recently, some play new movies, some retro titles - despite the differences, they are all facing the same challenges of not having enough employees, supply chain problems making it hard for them to get popcorn tubs and nacho cheese, lack of new movies from the studios and competition with new releases also being available for streaming, and dealing with unusually aggressive customers (similar to the airlines), to the point that one drive-in has put body cams on their managers. 

 

It seems like drive-ins must be thriving and doing well financially, when in reality, many drive-ins are barely getting by right now, many are on the market to be sold, owners are getting out of the business, and the ones staying in are feeling uncertain, wondering how they're going to keep their drive-in going, and yet they're all optimistic and determined to keep drive-ins alive for their communities and future generations of children and families.  

 

 

RELEASING SUMMER 2022 IN DRIVE-INS (and some INDOORS)

 

I am working with drive-in owners to get the movie on as many drive-in screens as possible this summer to raise awareness and bring attention to the family-owned authentic drive-in movie theatres across the country that need our support to survive. This is why we need the funds to complete the film in time for drive-ins to get it on their screens this summer.

 

 

MANY THANKS!


Thank you to everyone who is interested in this story and who has been supportive of my previous films. Thank you to the drive-in enthusiasts and those who value the theatrical experience. But mostly thank you to the hard-working, passionate and resilient drive-in owners who let me into their world to capture this story. Eleven drive-ins are featured in this doc but we hope the story represents all of the approximately 300 drive-ins that are left in the US.

 

 

DRIVE-INS FEATURED IN THE DOC:

 

Bengies - Middle River (Baltimore area), MD

Brazos - Granbury (Dallas area), TX

Coyote - Ft. Worth, TX

Field of Dreams - Liberty Center (Toledo area), OH

Galaxy - Ennis (Dallas area), TX

Greenville - Greenville (Catskills area), NY

Harvest Moon - Gibson City (Bloomington/Champaign area), IL

Mission Tiki - Montclair (Los Angeles area), CA

Quasar - Valley (Omaha area), NE

Transit - Lockport (Buffalo area). NY

Wellfleet - Wellfleet (Cape Cod), MA

Also visited: Memory Lane - Monroe, MI. Delsea - Vineland, NJ, Shankweiler's - Orefield, PA, Skyview Cruise-in - Lancaster, OK, Becky's - Walnutport, PA

 

FILMMAKER APRIL WRIGHT

 

April Wright is an award-winning filmmaker who fell in love with movies going to drive-ins and movie palaces in the Chicago area where she grew up. She brings a fresh and creative approach to her narrative projects and documentaries, and is drawn to material inspired by real people and events, especially stories with an underdog point of view.

 

April's doc "Going Attractions: The Definitive Story of the American Drive-in Movie" enjoyed a theatrical release in 2013. Having visited over 500 open, abandoned, and former sites of drive-ins in 49 states, April has been recognized as a drive-in historian and supporter, appearing in media like Time Magazine, USA Today, Parade, BBC World News, WGN Radio, The Chicago Tribune, CNN online, CBC. 

 

April loved directing the critically acclaimed "Stuntwomen: The Untold Hollywood Story" executive produced by Michelle Rodriguez, which was awarded Best Documentary of 2020 from the national Women Film Critics Circle and Best Sports Doc of 2020 by Film Threat's Award This. She visited some of the best stuntwomen in the business on the Marvel set in Atlanta, and enjoyed directing a drift car racing sequence with Michelle Rodriguez and her amazing stunt driver from the Fast series.

 

Her doc "Going Attractions: The Definitive Story of the Movie Palace" enjoyed a theatrical release and won numerous Best Documentary and Grand Prize awards at film festivals prior to its broadcast premiere on TCM Turner Classic Movies. Leonard Maltin appears in the doc and Forbes, called it "a richly crafted look at our passion for movie theaters."

 

April worked as a narrative programmer for the Sundance Film Festival and AFI Fest for over 15 years, which was a wonderful film education. She has an MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University and is an alumni of the Sundance Institute, member of Women in Film, Film Fatales, Film Independent, the Documentary Association and the Alliance of Women Directors.

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Team-member photo
April Wright
Director

April Wright is an award-winning filmmaker who fell in love with movies going to drive-ins and movie palaces in the Chicago area where she grew up. She brings a fresh and creative approach to her narrative projects and documentaries, and is drawn to material inspired by real people and events, especially stories with an underdog point of view.

 

April's doc "Going Attractions: The Definitive Story of the American Drive-in Movie" enjoyed a theatrical release in 2013. Having visited over 500 open, abandoned, and former sites of drive-ins in 49 states, April has been recognized as a drive-in historian and supporter, appearing in media like Time Magazine, USA Today, Parade, BBC World News, WGN Radio, The Chicago Tribune, CNN online, CBC. 

 

April loved directing the critically acclaimed "Stuntwomen: The Untold Hollywood Story" executive produced by Michelle Rodriguez, which was awarded Best Documentary of 2020 from the national Women Film Critics Circle and Best Sports Doc of 2020 by Film Threat's Award This. She visited some of the best stuntwomen in the business on the Marvel set in Atlanta, and enjoyed directing a drift car racing sequence with Michelle Rodriguez and her amazing stunt driver from the Fast series.

 

Her doc "Going Attractions: The Definitive Story of the Movie Palace" enjoyed a theatrical release and won numerous Best Documentary and Grand Prize awards at film festivals prior to its broadcast premiere on TCM Turner Classic Movies. Leonard Maltin appears in the doc and Forbes, called it "a richly crafted look at our passion for movie theaters."

 

April worked as a narrative programmer for the Sundance Film Festival and AFI Fest for over 15 years, which was a wonderful film education. She has an MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University and is an alumni of the Sundance Institute, member of Women in Film, Film Fatales, Film Independent, the Documentary Association and the Alliance of Women Directors.

More Screenings!
Fri. September 2, 2:39 PM PDT

Happy Labor Day weekend! Thank you again for your contributions to get Back to the Drive-in completed. The film is continuing in theaters with more locations and dates being added. You made such a huge difference to get the movie out there on time for this summer. THANK YOU! 🙏🎉🎥
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Back to the Drive-in in Theaters now
Fri. August 19, 6:58 PM PDT

THANK YOU to all of you who contributed to the finishing funds. Thank you to everyone who came out to see it in a theater during the first week!uploaded image

 

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Here’s where you can see it starting today and in the future. More dates are being added soon. 

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See it in Theaters soon!
Wed. August 3, 1:14 AM PDT

Hello to everyone who contributed to the finishing funds for BACK TO THE DRIVE-IN -

thanks to your help we are releasing the film into select theaters soon. Here’s a list of theaters where you can see your name in the credits on the big screen. More locations are still being added. If you have a favorite drive-in or art house theater that should play it, let us know! uploaded image

June 6 - Drive-in Day special advanced screening
Thu. May 19, 11:41 PM PDT

Hello everyone - thank you for your contributions to get our doc across the finish line. We are completing the final graphics and audio this week! 

 

Exciting news! We are having a drive-ins only - special advanced screening on June 6th to celebrate Drive-in Day when the first drive-in opened in 1933. We are on many drive-in screens as a double feature with Top Gun Maverick, which is beyond cool!  I assure you both are films you need to see! 

 

Here are some of the drive-ins where you can see BACK TO THE DRIVE-IN, 

Twelve states so far, and more being added.  Check with your local drive-in to see if they'd like to play it!

 

 

*ILLINOIS*

HARVEST MOON DRIVE-IN - Gibson City, IL - double feature with Top Gun Maverick! - and part of the doc! https://harvestmoondrivein.com/ 

 

 

*NEBRASKA* 

QUASAR DRIVE-IN - Vally, NE (Omaha area) - new build opened in 2021 and part of the doc! http://www.quasardrivein.com/ 

 

SANDHILLS DRIVE-IN - Alliance, NE - double feature with The Wizard of Oz! https://sandhillsdrivein.com/

 

 

*NEW YORK*

TRANSIT DRIVE-IN - Lockport, NY (Buffalo area) - double feature with Top Gun Maverick! and part of the doc!

https://www.transitdrivein.com/ 

 

 

*OHIO* 

FIELD OF DREAMS DRIVE-IN - Liberty Center, OH (Toledo area) and part of the doc! https://www.fieldofdreamsdrivein.com/ 

 

VAN DEL DRIVE-IN - Middle Point, OH https://van-del.com/ 

 

 

*INDIANA*

MOONLITE DRIVE-IN - Terre Haute, IN - double feature with Top Gun Maverick! http://www.moonliteterrehaute.com/ 
 

STARLITE DRIVE-IN - Bloomington, IN - double feature with Top Gun Maverick! http://www.starlitebloomington.com/ 

 

SKYLINE DRIVE-IN - Shelbyville, IN 

https://www.theskylinedrivein.com/ 

 

 

*VIRGINIA* 

STARLITE DRIVE-IN - Christiansburg, VA 

https://www.starlitedriveinva.com/ 

 

 

*TEXAS* 

BLUE STARLITE - Austin, TX 

https://www.bluestarlitedrivein.com/austin 

 

 

*TENNESSEE* 

STARDUST DRIVE-IN - Watertown, TN (Nashville area) - double feature with Top Gun Maverick!

http://stardustdrivein.com/

 

 

*MASSACHUSETTES*

WELLFLEET DRIVE-IN - Wellfleet, MA (Cape Cod) 

https://www.wellfleetcinemas.com/drive-in-theatre/ 

 

 

*MARYLAND*

BENGIES DRIVE-IN - Middle River, MD (Baltimore area) 

https://www.bengies.com/ 

 

 

*COLORADO*

88 DRIVE-IN - Commerce City, CO (Denver area) 

https://www.88drivein.net/

 

 

*MISSOURI*

TWIN DRIVE-IN – Independence, MO (Kansas City area)

Drive In Movie Theatre | Twin Drive-In (bbtheatres.com) 

 

Drive-in Day Advanced Screening
Tue. May 3, 1:15 PM PDT

Hello! thank you again for your contribution towards finishing BACK TO THE DRIVE-IN. We are working on color correction this week, score, audio, and graphics are in process. 
 

We are excited to announce a Drive-ins Only - Special Advanced Screening on Monday June 6, 2022 at drive-ins across the country to celebrate “Drive-in Day” when the first drive-in opened in 1933. Check to see if your local drive-in will be playing the film and be sure to join us for the fun on June 6th!  
 

This will be your chance to see the film early. The official theatrical release date (at drive-ins and indoors) is August 12, 2022.

Drive-in Exclusive Trailer
Mon. April 25, 10:33 AM PDT

uploaded imageHello everyone who contributed to Back to the Drive-in! The film won’t be completed until late May, but the drive-ins needed a trailer to let their audiences know the movie is coming to their screens this summer! I put this together for them and did audio and color correction myself, Chris Wormer the composer, wrote a score specific for the trailer. To thank you all for your support, I want to share the drive-in exclusive trailer with you!! 

Thank you!!
Thu. April 21, 10:50 AM PDT

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the crowdfunding campaign for BACK TO THE DRIVE-IN!  The composer is working on score, the graphics are being created, the audio is being cleaned up, color correction is scheduled the week of May 2nd. The movie will be on drive-in screens (and some indoors) this summer thanks to all of you! Thanks for helping me meet this very tight timeline. Can’t wait for you all to see the finished film! 

Post / Color is Scheduled
Tue. April 5, 2:41 PM PDT

Thanks to everyone who has contributed so far, I was able to schedule the final post / color session for our doc Back to the Drive-in!  Can’t wait for you all to see the completed film this summer! 

TARGET GOAL REACHED
Sat. April 2, 12:17 AM PDT

This is not an April Fool's joke - we reached our target goal in only 11 days which is amazing! A huge heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone who contributed! It all adds up and I'm so happy to have your support and encouragement to get this doc completed! We have enough to cover post-production and are now only $1489 from the stretch goal which will go towards the remaining things to get the movie out into the world this summer - movie posters, BluRay authoring and duplication, legal review, insurance, etc. I can't wait for everyone to see this film and go Back to the Drive-in!

24 HR MOM MATCH FUNDS
Wed. March 30, 1:11 PM PDT

My mom wants to help meet our finishing funds goal. For the next 24 hours she will match every contribution up to $1000! If you were on the fence about contributing, now is a great time to join our team! 

Hooray! We reached 25%!
Sun. March 27, 1:58 PM PDT

It's Oscars Sunday, but for our drive-in doc it's a special day to have reached 25% of our goal.  THANK YOU to everyone for your generous contributions. I truly appreciate each and every one of you and everyone who has voiced your support and encouragement! 

Launch THANK YOU!
Wed. March 23, 10:35 PM PDT

Thank you to everyone who contributed within the first 24 hours of our launch.. I was thrilled and incredibly grateful to see we raised over $3000!  This is a great start towards our $25,000 goal! 

PICTURE LOCK - YAY!
Mon. March 21, 4:59 PM PDT

I picture-locked the film last night which means no more changes!  This is a huge step in the filmmaking process, and now the film is ready for all the final post-production steps where your contributions will be used to help complete the film.  THANK YOU!

 

Incentives
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Film Lover ($25+)
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In addition to my love and gratitude for your support, you will get a thank you shout-out on social media.
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Special Thanks ($50+)
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In addition to my love and gratitude and a social media shout-out, your name will be added to the Special Thanks section of the film's end credits.
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Popcorn Club ($150+)
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In addition to my love and gratitude for your support & social media shout- out, your name will appear in end credits as a Popcorn Club contributor.
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Drive-in Lover ($500+)
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In addition to love and gratitude, social media shout-out, your name in the Special Thanks credits, you will receive a BluRay copy of the doc.
Unlimited supply.
Marquee Club ($1000+)
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My love and gratitude, social media shout-out, your name in the end credits as Marquee Club contributor and BluRay of the doc.
Unlimited supply.
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