Cinema Unbound Drive-In at Zidell Yards

The Northwest Film Center and Portland Art Museum are creatively collaborating during these socially distanced times to connect with audiences and bring innovative film and new media exhibitions to our community. The Cinema Unbound Drive-In, running August 6–September 27, 2020, welcomes guests to safely gather and experience the power that truly radical and entertaining cinematic storytelling can bring. This will be the first of many ways to change the archaic paradigm of what cinema can—and will—be.

“I grew up going to drive-ins in McAlister, Oklahoma, watching movies under the stars with my family,” says Amy Dotson, Director of the Northwest Film Center. “It was magical no matter what was playing on the big screen! We drank pop, laughed, covered each others’ eyes at the scary parts, and then honked our horns as we exited to signal our neighbors to make it safely back home until we could meet again. Northwest Film Center and Portland Art Museum look forward to bringing a bit of that same timeless magic, joy and community right into the heart of Portland at Zidell Yards.” 

What is the Cinema Unbound Drive-In? 

Last year, the Northwest Film Center (NWFC) began a creative reimagining dubbed “Cinema Unbound,” a new artistic vision that redefines the notion of cinema to expand beyond the walls of a theater and include cinema, TV, media arts, audio, and immersive storytelling in order to support unique, provocative, and expansive storytellers in new ways. 

Our mission is to change for whom, by whom, how and where cinematic storytelling is told. As a first step, NWFC is building out from scratch our Drive-In at Zidell Yards to safely bring together our community to celebrate and explore cinema in all its forms. Bringing together our community—families, artists, front line workers, partners across the city, cinephiles, and those who simply need a healing night out with popcorn under the stars—is what it’s all about.

What makes it unique?

The Drive-In was created for our post-COVID world as a way to gather, untether and dissolve implied boundaries, to wrap our arms around and uplift cinema—and each other—in all our many forms. When we are unbound, we are open to seeing stories from different places, people, and perspectives. Blending cinema classics, indie favorites, new releases, non-fiction, animation, and art across genres and styles, the Cinema Unbound Drive-In speaks to the unboundedness of where we’re headed next. 

Gates at 6:00 pm. Screening at Dusk.

Each night, you will meet storytellers whose narratives spring from a wide variety of building blocks and backgrounds.  Some are first features, some are big-budget flix from those with storied creative careers. Some push boundaries in a future-forward way, and some just make us flat-out laugh and take us back to our youth. Some were made right here in the Northwest, and the rest hail from New York, Hollywood, and representative communities everywhere. 

The films and art presented represent the pioneers out there, those who refused to let their creativity—and the creative expression of others—be bound by conventions.  People who pushed the boundaries in the past and those who are trying new things in this moment. They are timely and timeless—all stories that make us think, feel, heal, and reflect to help us see the world anew at this critical moment in time. 

NWFC members receive a $5 discount on each ticket purchased. Please email for details.

Cinema Unbound Drive-In Theater presents:


8/6 John Lewis: Good Trouble (NEW RELEASE!) dir. Dawn Porter (2020) – SOLD OUT

8/7 John Lewis: Good Trouble (NEW RELEASE!) dir. Dawn Porter (2020) – SOLD OUT

8/8 Moonlight dir. Barry Jenkins (2016) – SOLD OUT

8/13 Milk dir. Gus Van Sant (2008) – SOLD OUT

8/14 Fast Times at Ridgemont High dir. Amy Heckerling (1982) – SOLD OUT

8/15 Do the Right Thing dir. Spike Lee (1989) – SOLD OUT

8/20 Creature From the Black Lagoon dir. Jack Arnold (1954) – SOLD OUT

8/21 Labyrinth dir. Jim Henson (1986) – SOLD OUT

8/22 Knives and Skin dir. Jennifer Reeder (2019) – SOLD OUT

8/27 Sword of Trust dir. Lynn Shelton (2019) – SOLD OUT

8/28 E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial dir. Steven Spielberg (1982) – SOLD OUT

8/29 The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert dir. Stephan Elliott (1994) – SOLD OUT


9/19 Xanadu dir. Robert Greenwald (1980) – SOLD OUT

9/20 Love and Basketball dir. Gina Prince-Blythewood (2000) – SOLD OUT


9/25 Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure dir. Tim Burton (1985) – SOLD OUT

9/26 She Dies Tomorrow dir. Amy Seimetz (2020)
*** This film replaces The Shining dir. Stanley Kubrick (1980) 

9/27 Lost in Translation dir. Sofia Coppola (2003) – RESCHEDULED – SOLD OUT

9/28 The Great Outdoors dir. Howard Deutch (1988) – SOLD OUT

10/1 Young Hearts (fka Thunderbolt in Mine Eye) dir. Zachary Sherman & Sarah Sherman. (2020)

10/2 Sylvie’s Love dir. Eugene Ashe (2020)

10/3 Marona’s Fantastic Tale dir. Anca Damian (2019)

10/04 The Birds dir. Alfred Hitchcock (1963)

10/8 An American Werewolf in London dir. John Landis (1981)

10/9 Hotel Transylvania dir. Genndy Tartakovsky (2012)

10/10 Possessor dir. Brandon Cronenberg (2020)

10/11 A League of Their Own dir. Penny Marshall (1992) – CANCELED

*Films Subject to change

Get tickets HERE!


Gates open at 6:00 pm. Movies will start at dusk and will feature first-run, repertoire films, and features appropriate for children and adults. We will also feature a regional short film before each feature film. Projection mapping provided by the Mobile Projection Unit and music will be provided by X-Ray FM prior to each screening.

You will be able to hear the audio in through your car radio. Sound will be an in-car experience, over a limited FM transmission. 

All tickets and concessions will be sold online, in advance ONLY, through Northwest Film Center and Portland Art Museum’s websites. Tickets are $35 per car, $45 for Trucks, Vans and SUVs, and $55 for Premium Seating.  

For questions about tickets please contact the Ticket Tomato customer service team at: 1-800-820-9884 or

The Zidell Yards is located at 3030 S. Moody Ave, Portland, OR 97201

The driveway is between the Tilikum Crossing Bridge and the Ross Island Bridge. Once you turn east off of S Moody Ave towards the Willamette River, follow the signage and then take a slight left on the gravel road for the Cinema Unbound Drive-In.


Sweets and Treats provided by Sandra’s Goodies Catering.

For up-to-date event information regarding weather and the Drive-In at Zidell Yards, please visit the event’s website. Please assume the show is on unless otherwise noted. All films are subject to change without notice. 

The Cinema Unbound Drive-In Theater Guidelines