Envelope A+D has launched the Proxy Film Festival to showcase its new open-air theater.

By Jenna Scatena
October 16, 2015
Courtesy Envelope A+D

It’s been more than a year in the making, but San Francisco design firm Envelope A+D is finally giving the city a dose of cinematic joy with the inaugural Proxy Film Festival at their newly unveiled outdoor theater. The space, which can fit more than 700 people into its former parking lot-turned-al fresco cinema, is part of the firm’s ever-changing Proxy hub in the center of Hayes Valley. While Proxy’s dynamic flex use space has primarily been known for coveted boutiques and eateries—Smitten Ice Cream, Aether Apparel, Biergarten—the new outdoor theater and seasonal film festivals round it out with cultural gatherings.

“Watching movies outside together adds so much to the sense of being in the city together—enjoying the urban environment, contemporary culture, and each other’s presence at night in the open air,” says Douglas Burnham, Envelope A+D’s principal and founder. Envelope A+D teamed up with filmmaker Malcolm Pullinger to launch this fall’s festival, which will include one film—expect new indies and shorts—every Friday from October 16 through November 13.

Since this is San Francisco, BYO blanket and low folding chair (or buy one on-site), but you won’t have to worry about feeling pavement pebbles through your Pendleton—patches of synthetic sod will also be on-hand for sale. Beer will flow courtesy of Proxy resident Biergarten, and a rotating roster of vendors will be dishing out local fare (or pick up a Pizza from Patxi’s across the street).

As for the films? “We wanted to show movies that celebrate the role of film in our lives and culture, so these are a bit meta about film,” Burnham says. “We are so happy that this outdoor theater is actually coming to fruition that we wanted to take this opportunity to celebrate film itself.”

Down the line, a spring film festival is already shaping up to be more ambitious, with a longer stretch, more films, and innovative collaborations with the city’s culture heads. You might see the Exploratorium, San Francisco Ballet, Opera, the Silent Film Festival, or Disposable Films putting their heads together with Envelope A+D to mix film, creative content, and live performances together.

Until then, here is the schedule for fall’s Proxy Film Festival (all films start at 7 p.m. and all are free and open to the public):

October 16: Me + Earl + The Dying Girl

October 23: Humiko The Treasure Hunter

October 30: TBD Halloween film

November 6: Selected Shorts by Malcom Pullinger

November 13: The Wolfpack

Jenna Scatena is on the San Francisco Bay Area beat for Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram