The unique glory that is Maine summer has arrived and you, the Portland film fan, are itching to combine your two loves — movies and lounging around outdoors — with a trip to a drive-in movie. You grab your keys and head for the door, all aglow with the anticipation of some nocturnal film fun under the stars, when you suddenly stop short.

You just remembered you don’t have a car. Crap.

Well, how about a walk-in movie instead?

The Rooftop Film Series is back. A Portland institution, the series features free screenings of a variety of movies on the top of the Spring Street parking garage (45 Free St.) in downtown Portland.

The films are shown on a hanging screen on the garage’s top deck (one floor below if it’s raining), with the audience on blankets, folding chairs, bean bag chairs or whatever they bring from home. Home-brought snacks are also encouraged, as are friends interested in reliving some film favorites.

Long sponsored by the local nonprofit arts patron organization MENSK ( and Coffee By Design, the Rooftop Film Series, according to organizer Louisa Donelson, “likes to show throwback/retro movies that are mostly family friendly.” (Last Sunday’s “Wayne’s World” was the first PG-13 film.)

“Basically, we try and show something everyone has seen and has fond memories of and is excited to see again,” she said.

Keeping with that plan, the next selection is the universally beloved “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure,” which will screen this Sunday. August’s pick is the original “Karate Kid.” The movies start when the sun goes down — usually around 8:30 or 9 p.m.

As a recent addition to the series, local short films will precede the main attraction. For July, expect a short documentary about life in rural Maine from Portland’s own No Umbrella Media ( Local filmmakers looking for another venue to screen their PG-rated Maine films should get in touch with MENSK at [email protected]

A beautiful Maine evening, some friends, and Pee-Wee? They meant to do that! 

Dennis Perkins is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.


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