An orange cord guides a snaking path through the lush forest floor. Feet shuffle and branches snap as students wander toward their final destination, a movie projector in the middle of the forest.
Starting April 8, Shawheen Keyani, a double major in psychology and film, and Kenton Towry, an earth science major, both second-years who live in the Camper Park at Kresge College, have created an outdoor cinema.
At the event, officially dubbed “The Woodsy Cinema,” Keyani and Towry plan on showing movies for the campus community every Sunday night at 9 p.m. A screen and chairs are temporarily erected in the forest so people can enjoy films under a starry night sky.
“We thought it would be appropriate to call it the Woodsy Cinema for two reasons,” Keyani said. “First because the first film shown there was called ‘Woodsy’ and second because it’s in the forest where the woodsies actually live.”
Keyani said the idea came to him when trying to figure out where to premiere his film, “Woodsy.”
The term “woodsy” refers to anyone living in the forest. Keyani considers his premiere to be in the perfect location — a forest.
Although Keyani said he wants the feature film to be the main attraction, he hopes the Woodsy Cinema will serve as a venue for performance and fine artists of all kinds.
“I know there’s a good community of independent filmmakers in Santa Cruz, specifically in our college,” Keyani said. “The cinema is an open space for them to show their films to whoever they want.”
Last weekend, they screened the comedy-drama, “The Darjeeling Limited,” directed by Wes Anderson.
Parker Yamasaki, a second-year philosophy and environmental studies double major, said the Woodsy Cinema is a great idea for the Camper Park community.
“I really admire Shawheen’s initiative to create this event. There are always so many good ideas, but people don’t always act on them,” Yamasaki said. “Shawheen is really taking this crazy cool cinema on seriously.”
In a time when movies can cost anywhere from $10–15 at downtown cinema theaters, a free film on the big screen can come as a welcome opportunity for students who live on campus. Towry said that by having the cinema in the forest they are making watching movies a fun, free and accessible thing to do.
“There’s something special about watching movies with a big group of people,” Towry said. “Especially if you’re watching good comedy, everyone kind of builds up on each other and it’s overall a more enjoyable experience for everyone.”
Although the Woodsy Cinema is still in its infancy, Towry and Keyani said they are committed to fostering its growth over the next next two to three years. While they are determined for the film showing to remain free, they said they may start charging 25 cents for popcorn.