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Chapel Hill to host annual Movies Under the Stars at the Forest Theatre until Aug. 18


The Forest Theatre on UNC's campus is located on Country Club Road.

Arts Everywhere, Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture and Chapel Hill Public Library are partnering to host Movies Under the Stars, an annual series of free movies screened every Thursday through Aug. 18, at the Forest Theatre. 

The first movie shown will be Pixar’s Soul this Thursday at sundown.  

This year, the amount of movies shown has increased from three to five. In addition to Soul, Encanto will be shown on July 28, Annie on Aug. 4, Inside Out Aug. 11 and finally High School Musical on Aug. 18.

Melissa Bartoletta, marketing and communications coordinator at Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture, said that the goal of the movie selections was to bring people of all ages together.

“We picked titles that were family-friendly, that were inclusive, and we thought some of them could even be fun throwbacks for people,” she said.

In previous years, Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture has hosted Movies Under the Stars in different locations around town, but this year’s series will be the second time the event is hosted in the Forest Theatre. 

The event was relocated to the theatre when Chapel Hill Community of Arts & Culture partnered with Arts Everywhere. 

Bartoletta said that last year, Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture ramped up programming and did not have a lot of lead time for the event. 

She said that even though there were only a couple of weeks to get the word out, last year's Movies Under the Stars saw around 200 community members come out to watch the movies.

“What we found out and what we know is that people like movies and they like to watch them outside and it doesn't take much to bring folks out," she said.

Bartoletta said collaborating with Arts Everywhere to showcase the films in the Forest Theatre has allowed the event to continue to be successful.

The last installment of the Movies Under the Stars, High School Musical, will overlap with UNC’s first week of classes. Chapel Hill Public Library Marketing and Communications Coordinator Hannah Olson said the movie was picked with UNC students in mind.

“I know this year, we selected High School Musical as kind of a nostalgic choice hoping maybe we get some more UNC students to come out and check it out,” she said.

Arts Everywhere Marketing and Development Communications Manager Crystal Wu said that while the event will take place on UNC's campus, the event is not just for students.

“We hope to connect students to arts experiences while they're at UNC," she said. "But we also hope to connect with the Chapel Hill community so that they feel welcome and included in this and our creative and artistic experiences on campus,” she said.

Rising UNC senior Jerry Xu first found out about the event through Instagram. He said he plans on going to see some of the movies, particularly High School Musical.

"I guess I kind of like how nostalgic it is," he said. "We grew up with it. It's just classic 2000s."

Guests are encouraged to bring blankets, cushions or something comfortable to sit on, as well as a flashlight, as it will be dark when the movie ends. 

Though concessions will not be sold and outside food and drinks are not permitted, attendees are allowed to bring water. 

Parking for the event will be available in Cobb Deck and the Park Place lot in addition to metered street parking on South Boundary Street. Free parking will also be available on the west end of Franklin Street starting at 6 p.m. 

The entrance to the theatre faces Country Club Road.

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