Drive-in movie plans draw mixed reviews from community

Albuquerque News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Hoping to help a struggling Albuquerque theatre, a local film group is bringing drive-in movies to the Old Town area. However, neighbors are fighting back, worried about the crowd and noise. Albuquerque Film and Music Experience want to host movies in the parking lot of the Albuquerque Little Theatre starting next month and they claim there shouldn’t be any issues.


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“The noise pollution is nowhere near the noise pollution from Central Avenue which is a few blocks away,” said Ivan Wiener, the Executive Director of the Albuquerque Film and Music Experience. “The light pollution is no more than the regular street lights that are here, trash we pick up any trash that’s left here.”     

Organizers are planning to show movies to a drive-in crowd on a giant portable screen here every Friday and Saturday. Their plan is to continue that through December at the start, only 50 cars will be allowed in the parking lot. But that could increase if Bernalillo County gets to green or turquoise reopening status. Organizers said the audio will be piped into cars through a radio station and drivers can only start their engines for a minute every half-hour for their car batteries.

Some neighbors who live right across from the parking lot have mixed reactions. “I’ve always loved drive-ins, so I think it’s a good, good opportunity to have people have a good experience in the neighborhood, yeah and there’s room for it,” said Izzy Spitz.      

“The traffic, you’re going to have up to 100 cars, noise, pollution,” said Ellen Griffiths. “Cars, they say they’re not going to be running, but if you’re watching a movie and you’re in a car in June, you’re going to have your car on so you can have the air conditioning on.” 

The Huning Castle Neighborhood Association’s president wouldn’t go on camera but said the association wants drive-in organizers to get a different kind of permit other than the special use permit the city’s already approved.

The Albuquerque Planning Department said it doesn’t see any problems with the set-up so far. The drive-in organizers said 25 percent of their ticket sales will go to the Albuquerque Little Theatre which hasn’t had an in-house live show for more than a year.

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