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At the conclusion of the free 2017 Movies in the Park series, which drew more than 1,000 residents and families to the gorgeous redwood grove of Old Mill Park for outdoor screenings of classics like The Princess Bride and newer hits like Moana, the feeling among series organizers was simple: let’s make this thing bigger and better than ever.

After an incredibly successful fundraising campaign to raise enough money to purchase all of the equipment required to produce the series on their own – propelled by a $5,000 grant from the Outdoor Art Club – Mill Valley Recreation, the Mill Valley Chamber and the California Film Institute are doing just that. The 2018 Movies in the Park series will now stretch across five screenings from June through October.

The lineup again includes a mix of classics like Grease, the most successful movie musical of all time, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, and The Lion King, the massive 1994 hit that will be followed up in 2019 with a live action version starring Beyonce and Donald Glover. It also includes Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the latest of yet another hugely successful film in the continuing Star Wars saga. And finally, the Movies in the Park series includes a pair animated treats for kids of all ages: The Incredibles, the 2004 Pixar film about a family of undercover superheroes that has a sequel coming out this summer, and 2016’s Zootopia, which will screen during the opening weekend of the 41st Mill Valley Film Festival.

Grease will screen on Friends Field outside the Mill Valley Community Center, while the remaining screenings are set in the redwood grove adjacent to the playground in Old Mill Park at the corner of Throckmorton Avenue and Cascade Drive. Seating is general admission, and attendees are encouraged to bring a blanket and/or low beach chair. The main feature begins at sunset.

“Watching the Movies in the Park series blossom into such a popular, cherished community event has been fantastic,” says City of Mill Valley Arts and Recreation Director Jenny Rogers. “Our collaboration on this series with the Mill Valley Chamber and the California Film Institute has been incredible – the City simply could not do it without the generous support of our awesome partners. Looking forward to making it bigger and better than ever in the years ahead.”

​The fundraising campaign ranged from individual donors at each screening to donations made via the Enjoy Mill Valley Fund created by the Chamber’s board of directors in 2016 to raise money for local civic projects. The grant from the Outdoor Art Club, the 116-year-old organization that has been one of Mill Valley’s backbones since its inception and remains so today, catapulted it over the top.

“We’ve been thrilled at the response from the community for the free Movies in the Park series, and we’re excited to have raised enough funds to expand it and make it sustainable for years to come,” says Mike Son, the Chamber’s board chair. “We’re extremely grateful to the Outdoor Art Club for this significant grant and to the larger community who contributed to this campaign with their donations.”

“It’s been a joy for us to participate in making this outdoor movies series happen, and having one screening occur during our annual Mill Valley Film Festival has added yet another community benefit to our ever-growing celebration of cinema,” says Jeromy Zajonc, MVFF’s director of operations. “We’re grateful to the Chamber for spearheading this fundraising campaign and look forward to co-presenting great films outdoors this year and for years to come.”

Here are the screening dates and trailers for each film:

June 8: Grease – Friends Field

July 6: Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Old Mill Park

August 3: The Incredibles – Old Mill Park

September 7: The Lion King – Old Mill Park

October 5: Zootopia – Old Mill Park

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