The first event in the Georgia Brewed Cinema film series was always meant to be a celebration of Burt Reynolds’s 1977 Georgia-filmed Smokey and the Bandit, but after the actor died last week at age 82, the event has also become a tribute.
“We’re going to do a toast before [the screening], and everyone will get a Burt Reynolds mustache” said Matthew Hall, the founder of Patina Pictures, which produces the series. “It’s a celebration of Burt Reynolds as well as of the film. He did a lot for the Georgia movie business, so it fits completely.”
The series, which takes place during three evenings in September, features three movies that were both filmed in and set in the state: Smokey, Drumline, and Baby Driver. Each film will be screened outdoors on the patio at Georgia Beer Garden, and the event features not only a food menu inspired by each specific film, but a three-beer pairing from Wild Heaven Beer as well. Some of the food planned for the Smokey screening includes a version of the film’s Diablo sandwich and fried pimento cheese balls with Dr. Pepper sauce.
Hall, a former technology consultant and self-proclaimed movie lover, is an Atlanta native but spent the past several years living in Austin, Texas, and London. There he attended “experiential theater” events, including themed dinners at the Austin-based movie theater Alamo Drafthouse, where the food and drink offerings were specifically designed to pair with a particular film, and London’s SecretCinema, which aims to actually bring films to life with elaborate outdoor sets, live performances, and costumes.
He wanted to bring those elements of experiential theater with him when he moved back to Atlanta in December, so he bought “a 16-foot screen, a projector, and 100 camping chairs” and launched his first project, the pet-friendly Movies in the Bark series, in June. Held at the coffee shop-slash-dog park ParkGrounds, the series showcased dog-themed films including 101 Dalmatians and Best in Show.
Ultimately, “we want to create movie experiences that are drastically better than sitting at home and watching movies or going to a movie theater,” Hall says.
And with the Georgia Brewed series, Hall says he’s aiming to highlight three things the state does well: movies, beer, and food. It’s also meant to be an opportunity to explore how Georgia’s portrayal on-screen has evolved over the past several decades.
“A lot of movies are filmed here, but Georgia rarely gets to be itself on-screen,” Hall says. “By picking these movies [from three different decades], we can think and talk about how Georgia is portrayed on film, how we think about ourselves, and how things have changed.”
If you go
Smokey and the Bandit will play September 12 at 7 p.m. Drumline will play September 23 (Postponed from September 16) at 7 p.m. Baby Driver will play September 26 at 7 p.m. All are at Georgia Beer Garden. Tickets for each screening are $45 and include food and a three-beer pairing.