Introducing ‘sail-in’ movies in the heart of Tel Aviv

Later this month, city residents will be able to watch movies on a lake in HaYarkon Park while rocking gently in socially distanced boats.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

In a new twist to the old concept of drive-in movie theaters, the Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality has announced that during the last week of August there will be a “sail-in” theater on the lake of its HaYarkon Park.

The “Cinema on the Water” will take place August 22-28. Due to the availability of only some 70 boats that are usually rented by park visitors by the hour for rowing, paddling or slowly motoring about, “seating” will be severely curtailed.

The screenings will also be restricted to city residents who will only be allowed to buy tickets in advance online. The lucky few, however, will rock gently in their vessels under the stars, two meters apart from each other, facing a gigantic screen set up on the tiny island in the middle of the lake.

Which movies will be screened at what times have yet to be made public.

Since movie theaters have been closed for months due to the spread of the Covid-19 disease, big-screen aficionados have been starved for entertainment. The municipality began to address the issue last week, when its culture department reinstated the historic drive-in that existed in the heart of the city from 1973 to 2000.

In honor of Israel’s version of Valentine’s Day, Tu B’Av, the city invited Tel Avivians to watch films screened on the huge wall of the basketball arena that was built on the site of the old drive-in complex. On Wednesday and Thursday nights, 200 cars were allowed into the hall’s parking lot for a minimal fee so their occupants could safely watch a French film the first night and an Israeli cult film the second night. The sound was piped in via the car radios.

Although, due to Covid-19 restrictions, no vendors were allowed to sell popcorn, candy or drinks to give it a real ‘movie night’ feel, tickets sold out within an hour and a half. In light of the success of the event, the city hopes to keep the drive-in open for regular weekend showings – and that the health ministry will allow all 550 parking spaces to be used.

“More vehicles can be brought in here and I hope they will allow it,” said Mayor Ron Huldai. “Two hundred vehicles is too little.”