Meet The Black Couple Who Started A Pop Up Theatre Showing Culturally Diverse Films Only
Photo Credit: ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP via Getty Images

Photo Credit: ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP via Getty Images

Meet The Black Couple Who Started A Pop Up Theatre Showing Culturally Diverse Films Only

black owned business
Parker Diakite
Parker Diakite Jul 24, 2020

Newark-based filmmaker Ayana Stafford-Morris and her husband Siree Morris are ditching Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and other cult classics at their Black-owned pop-up movie theater Newark Moonlight Cinema.

The reason? 

The couple doesn’t consider these movies to be classics to their targeted audience.

Instead, visitors can expect films like Just Mercy, Hardball, Transformers, Girl’s Trip, and the 2007 remake of Hairspray because these films “reflect the ethnic and cultural diversity of the region’s audiences.”

“We want to be able to change the narrative,” Stafford-Morris, 34, told the Gothamist. “When we say cult classic, it shouldn’t just be assumed that it’s a white film.”

She said when she initially met with a movie licensing company, they suggested she feature such drive-in staples such as JawsSixteen CandlesThe Breakfast Club, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

“Some of us like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. But that’s not a cult classic for us,” said Stafford-Morris, adding, “When we’re sitting around the dinner table and we’re having conversations about, ‘Remember what happened in that movie?’ That’s not usually the one that we’re discussing.”

The pop-up drive-in movie theater is located at the site of the former Newark Bears Baseball Stadium in Newark’s Downtown District. This seasonal experience will run Fridays through Sundays from July 24, 2020 through October 4, 2020.

“Each weekend will offer patrons a nostalgic trip down memory lane while providing prime family time for over 1500 people,” a statement reads on its website. “The films are carefully selected to highlight African American filmmakers, actors, and actresses.”

Newark Moonlight Cinema sits on a little more than 7 acres and holds approximately 350 cars per event. Gates open at 7 PM night and shows start promptly at 9 PM.