When Felix Brajdic was growing up, one of his favorite activities would be to go to the movies with his parents and watch classic films in a dark theater room with a bright screen. Now, at the new Miami Beach SoundScape ExoStage, Brajdic, 69, enjoys watching movies under the stars, surrounded by people with their pets, their shoes off and a glass of wine.
“I recommend it to anyone who wants peace and quiet and to get away from their busy lives,” Brajdic said.
The movies are free and shown outdoors on a soaring 7,000-square-foot projection wall. People bring blankets, a beach or lawn chair, and a picnic meal to eat.
The program that started two years ago opened its fall series with The Great Gatsby and will continue this Wednesday with 1972’s The Poseidon Adventure. All films will begin at 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, and will take place on the lawn of The New World Center, at the corner of 17th Street and Washington Avenue.
During the 2013 spring season, Brajdic watched The Life of Pi with his grandchildren, eating his special fried rice with shrimp, pork, chicken, peas, onions, bean sprouts and Healthy Boy black soy sauce.
“Being out there with nature and the coolness of the evening is superb, especially with a full moon and stars,” Brajdic said.
Max Sklar, Miami Beach’s director of Tourism, Culture and Economic Development, agrees. “It provides a consistent venue for residents and the general public to interact and enjoy the city, the outdoors and themselves,” said Sklar, 38.
In 2011, Miami Beach Cultural Affairs program manager Gary Farmer and Sklar decided that it would be a good idea to start a free Wednesday night family film series.
“It helps create a sense of community by bringing all kinds of people together, including the homeless, old people and teenagers,” said Farmer, 62, adding that the SoundScape Park was designed as a collaboration between the city of Miami Beach and the New World Center.
With more than 25,000 visitors each season, the SoundScape Cinema Series offers a selection of movies from all genres, including comedy, action, fiction, romance and drama.
The 1959 film Ben-Hur and the 2013 film The Man of Steel are two of the 11 movies that will be shown this coming season.
“It’s a wonderful experience to see movies like the 1971 Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory on a huge screen with state-of-the-art sound technology,” Brajdic said.