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Summer Shadows stays dark for second year

This article was posted originally in the Sault Star on Aug 24, 2021 10:10 AM EST by Brian Kelly reposted with permission.


Bill MacPherson prepares for a screening at Summer Shadows at Bellevue Park in August 2018. BRIAN KELLY SunMedia

COVID-19 is keeping Summer Shadows in the dark for a second consecutive year.

Free outdoor screenings of family films started in 2005 and moved to Bellevue Park in 2008.

The pandemic spiked Summer Shadows in 2020. Board member of parent group Shadows of the Mind Film Festival met online in late July and decided not to show movies at the downtown park again this year.

“We’ve never had less than 100 people at our outdoor screenings,” said co-director Bill MacPherson. Step 3 of Roadmap to Reopen Ontario allows up to 100 people at outdoor events. Screening organizers didn’t anticipate the province easing restrictions beyond Step 3 during the summer months.

“We felt (cancelling) was the prudent thing,” said MacPherson.

Most attendees are under 12, a group that can’t be vaccinated against COVID-19.

“How do you enforce social distancing?” said MacPherson. “There’s so many access points to the park. We didn’t want to have to put it upon ourselves to enforce any kind of social distancing. How you do turn people away when they’re coming over the nolls and through the park?”

Shadows organizers considered screening films at a downtown site after deciding not to proceed at Bellevue Park.

“It just didn’t work out this year,” said MacPherson.

Films shown at Summer Shadows have included Despicable Me, Up and WALL-E.

“We’re itching to get back to showing movies,” said MacPherson.

Plans are being made for a scaled-down Shadows of the Mind Film Festival in early 2022.

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