Movie night at Brick Works

The door remains open even when the sun goes down. Evergreen Brick Works will be presenting free movie screenings this fall. It’s part of an effort to encourage people to visit the centre in the evening.

Anthony Westenberg, spokesperson for the Brick Works, says the films help build a sense of community, which is a big part of the facility’s mandate.

“We want to be a community centre and we want to bring people together,” Westenberg said. “This event makes nice use of the space and it’s a unique way for Torontonians to get out and enjoy a night out in a very unique atmosphere.”

In summertime, films will be shown outside with vendors selling organic popcorn and lemonade. Now, the event takes place inside the Young Welcome Centre, where a large screen covers the wall and visitors can buy hot or cold cider. For Westenberg, there’s a bit of nostalgia to the atmosphere.

“It heralds back to those old drive-ins that you used to go to when you were a kid,” he said. “Sadly, there aren’t too many of them around anymore, so that’s what we’re trying to do, is get that feeling back.”

Last week, the series featured Manufactured Landscapes, a movie by director Jennifer Baichwal. It follows acclaimed Canadian photographer Ed Burtynsky on one of his trips to document China’s growing industrialization. Stuart McPherson, the Brick Works’ stewardship co-ordinator, who organized the event, chose this film because it deals with important social and environmental issues.

“The director doesn’t make a lot of judgments,” McPherson said. “She acts as an observer and lets viewers determine their own judgments.”

He  went on to say that one of their goals is getting people to enjoy the environment.

“We don’t want to guilt people into things,” he said. “We want people to come out and enjoy things.”

The evenings also include short films from the National Film Board of Canada’s archives. McPherson plans to expand the program into a more interactive format by inviting directors and people from the community to discuss issues raised by the films.

Unfortunately, on this particular evening a technical problem ended the film midway through. Nonetheless, attendee Andreas Roediger loved the space and wants to return.

“I was thrilled when I saw this,” Roediger said. “I think Toronto is absolutely lacking in eco-friendly environments.

“It’s exciting to see something that was formerly an industrial area transformed into something closer to a greener ecosystem. I’ll be back for sure.”

Events at the Brick Works will run through the winter, with a skating rink opening in mid-December and a café featuring seasonal dishes coming in January, 2011.