Hillsborough Safe and Sound and the Improvement League of Plant City have come together to start a monthly community movie night series. Marvel’s Black Panther will be shown Feb. 23.
Few things bring people together like the magic of cinema. Films are able to impact lives and create a cultural conversation.
Hillsborough Safe and Sound and the Improvement League of Plant City have come together to kick off a monthly community movie night series starting Feb. 23 at the Bing Rooming House Museum, 205 Allen St.
“We do two community events every month with Safe and Sound,” Aaron Sykes, Safe and Sound coordinator and community organizer for the Bing Rooming House, said. “This is one of the monthly events we plan to start. It’s a way to collectively come together for a shared experience with the community.”
To usher in the soon-to-be cherished community event the Bing House is pairing an art exhibit with the feature film. The first film will be Marvel’s Black Panther and the exhibit will feature images from the Plant City Photo Archives & History Center. The photos show prominent members of society from Marshall High School, Midway Academy, prom queens, Strawberry Court images and pictures of yearbooks from the 1960s.
Sykes said the inaugural event kicks off at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 23. At the start everyone will go upstairs to take in the exhibit for approximately 20 minutes. Then the children can participate in crafts during the movie. They will have things to color and draw and, if their parents want, the group will submit their finished artwork to the Afrocon contest in Hillsborough on March 30, which is themed “A Celebration of Diverse Superheroes.”
“I feel like movies are something we all watch at home together,” Sykes said. “For children it’s a format, a platform, that hopefully their family is already implementing. Watching movies with family members creates memories. We’re hoping to expand that to a more social setting with neighbors and community members. It’s open for anyone to attend, but we’re putting an emphasis on the local families in the area.”
The hope is the monthly movie nights can create a community conversation focused on what local issues and priorities are pivotal for Plant City families. Safe and Sound is wanting to expand those issues into community panel discussions. In March there will be a mental health discussion that will cover a variety of topics on everything from sexual health to how healthy living impacts mental health.
The movie nights themselves will be casual and full of fun, Sykes said. Black Panther is the inaugural film, but each month the community will be able to vote on the film they want to watch at the next showing. There will be an online survey with three options and the community will determine the winner.
At the start, the films will be shown inside the Bing House in the community room in the back. Chairs, tables and light snacks will be provided, but anyone is welcome to bring their own food and comfy blankets or pillows.
Eventually once some logistics are figured out and the weather takes care of the pesky Florida mosquitoes, the films will be moved outside to a “movies on the lawn” type of setup.
“It’s crucial for both groups involved to really work toward bringing children and the community together,” Sykes said. “For one, it’s Black History Month and it’s important they hear a narrative that they may not see on a typical basis… Any lesson under the sun can be found in movies. There’s a deeper meaning in everything and we are looking forward to hearing the kids’ thoughts.”
The night of the event Sykes will have a Google doc set up to stay in touch with attendees for votes on future films. Social media is also a great way to keep your eyes peeled for upcoming events. Facebook is currently the best way to stay in the loop, but an Instagram account for the Bing Rooming House Museum is in the process of being created as well.
For more information or any questions contact Sykes at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the museum at 813-757-6760.