Family Movies in Unexpected Places

As Brooklyn parents know, choices for taking your kids to the movies can often be limiting. Frequently, the same one or two popular kids’ films are shown at all the local theaters. Worse than that, the cost of one adult ticket and two children’s seats will run you about 20 bucks. And that’s before popcorn and soda! If there were other options at affordable prices, catching a flick might be a more enjoyable experience. Well, read on. Below is a list of places to see movies that you might not have heard of, guaranteed to spark your child’s mind and creativity without emptying your pockets.

PROSPECT PARK BANDSHELL Each year, the Prospect Park Bandshell welcomes the Celebrate Brooklyn Performing Arts Festival with a combination of music, shows, and movies. Typically there are about 25 events in the 8- to 10-week summer session. Film nights are usually Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, with movies geared toward children of all ages with the emphasis on films that are not typically the commercial movies shown everywhere. There are roughly 2,000 seats and lawn seating capacity for an additional 4,000 in the Bandshell. On-site concession stands offer refreshments provided by popular Seventh Avenue restaurant, Two Boots. Movies are shown on a giant 55-foot-wide by 22-foot-high screen, one of the largest in Brooklyn, designed to accommodate the vast and lively crowd. Last year, nearly 6,000 people gathered for the sundown showing of “Creature from the Black Lagoon”. The audience was treated as a costumed sax impresario and band provided an original score and sound effects. And did I mention the movie was shown in 3D? The schedule for this summer’s program, which runs mid-June through mid- August, will be announced in mid-May. For more information, visit

BROOKLYN ACADEMY OF MUSIC Each year, the Brooklyn Academy of Music presents its annual BAM Kids Film Festival. Curated by Nicole Dreikse, the event is geared toward children ages 2-13, with cutting-edge animation and live action films. Last month, BAM celebrated its sixth season by featuring 46 short and feature-length children’s films from 22 countries in association with the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival. The popular weekend festival was marked with a special appearance by the Crowtations, described as “four high-flying, soul-singing birdpuppets”, who performed doo-wop, jazz, rap, and Motown. Some of the movies presented were: “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly”, “I Want a Dog”, and “The Dog Who Was a Cat Inside”, which is the story of how a dog and cat put aside their differences. What makes the BAM festival special are the learning opportunities it provides for children. “The films both entertain and convey important messages from a variety of viewpoints from many cultures,” says Suzanne Youngerman, BAM education & humanities director. BAM has a cafe on its premises for lunch, sandwiches, and snacks. BAM Rose Cinemas are located at 30 Lafayette Avenue in Brooklyn. Call (718) 636-4100 or (718) 777-FILM for further information, or visit the website at

BROOKLYN PUBLIC LIBRARY The Central Library located at Grand Army Plaza is alive with more than just books. As part of their Saturday Family Movies series, the library shows family-oriented feature movies in a variety of genre. Kids can relax with the light-hearted April screenings. Movies include “Peter Pan” (April 3) and “Babe” (April 10). Elizabeth Taylor, at the ripe old age of 10, stars with Mickey Rooney in “National Velvet” on April 17. “Lady and the Tramp” rounds out the month with its memorable love story on April 24. Saturday Family Movies will continue throughout the summer. Also on tap are a range of programs for all ages, such as author talks, poetry readings, exhibitions, dance, and more. For more information, visit or call (718) 230-2100.

BROOKLYN MUSEUM OF ART Just a short walk from the library is another source of movie fun — the Brooklyn Museum of Art (BMA). As one of the largest museums in the country, BMA will host the Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC) 38th International Film and Video Festival on May 8 from noon-6pm. Special categories will highlight films by college students as well as children (K-12) in genres including documentary, narration, animation, and experimental. Attention will be focused on work done by people who live and/or work in Brooklyn. For more information, check out the International Film and Video pages on BAC’s website, From June 4-13, the museum will host the 7th annual Brooklyn International Film Festival, featuring more than 90 shorts, documentaries, experimental and animated films from around the globe. For ticket information and a complete listing of films, screening times, parties and award ceremonies, visit the Festival’s website at General admission to the museum is a suggested contribution: adults $6, students $3, seniors $3. Free to members and children 12 and under. Visit online at