Excitement has been buzzing online after zip-tickets.com published an event advertising a “Floating Boat Cinema” in select cities in the U.S. this summer, including Los Angeles and San Diego, but questions remain.
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA—Excitement has been buzzing online after news outlets reported a “Floating Boat Cinema” was coming to select cities in the U.S. this summer, including Los Angeles and San Diego. With movie theaters closed due to Covid-19, it sounds like the perfect summer event. However, unanswered questions raise skepticism about the event’s legitimacy.
The events were published on a website called zip-tickets.com, which listed the “Floating Boat Cinema” coming to Los Angeles, San Diego, Denver and San Francisco on Sept. 2. The event description on the website said the floating cinema will be in town for a week and feature 12 to 24 social distancing boats that hold up to eight people each. Purchasers will be required to buy tickets for the whole boat to ensure groups will be seated with friends and family only, to allow for social distancing. The boats will also be spaced more than 6 feet apart.
It also stated each movie-goer will be given free popcorn and other drinks and snacks will be available for purchase. Movies were not announced in the event listing, but the website stated they will be announced when tickets go on sale and are set to be a mix of golden oldies and new releases. Tickets are not yet for sale but the zip-tickets site has a form those interested can fill out to be alerted when they are. The event listing can be found at bit.ly/305P0Y3.
Other event listings on the same site have the sanitized boats relocating to St. Louis, Houston, Chicago, Miami, and Orlando on Sept. 9. Then New York City, Pittsburgh, and Canadian cities like Vancouver, Toronto, and Calgary the next week. According to zip-tickets.com, the final string of U.S. screenings will conclude on Sept. 23 in Austin, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Columbus, and Cincinnati.
News outlets reported Beyond Cinema, an Australian-based company that produces immersive film experiences, was the organizer of the event. The company was not named in the event description. According to Beyond Cinema’s website, the company has hosted several immersive experiences in Sydney, Australia over the last 18 months. The events have “taken people on board The Titanic, into The Shawshank Redemption at The Old Melbourne Gaol and Gatsby’s mansion at the stunning Curzon Hall.”
The Log reached out to Beyond Cinema for more information through a contact form on the company’s website. The Log received a response from email with the name “Immersive Ventures,” directing the paper to reach out to “Camila” whose email address was @virtualgamingco.com. The Log did not hear back by the time this paper went to press. After getting no response, The Log attempted to confirm the event with the first email address from “Immersive Ventures” but also did not get a reply before this paper went to press.
The event is not out of the realm of possibility. In fact, such an event did take place at the end of July in Paris as part of “Paris-Plages”, an annual summer program that offers outdoor sports and leisure activities on the banks of the seine river and the bassin de la villette. As part of the event, M2K Cinemas hosted “Cinéma sur l’Eau” — or cinema on the water — with a movie screen and floating boats on the river.
A photo originating from “Paris-Plages” depicting a simulation of the event with a movie screen and floating boats, was circulating with some of the news stories about the alleged “Floating Boat Cinema.”
Questions remain about the exact locations of where these boats will set sail in Los Angeles and San Diego. Will it take place in one of the marinas or bays? An in-land lake, river or reservoir? According to zip-tickets.com, the locations will be announced when tickets go on sale.
If the event were to use public waters, it would need a permit and possibly multiple permits. Tracy Spahr, the Public Information Officer with the Port of San Diego said organizers would need a permit from them if they were to use any of the about 34 miles of water along San Diego Bay the Port oversees. Spahr said the Port has not yet been contacted by the event organizers and a permit has not yet been sought.
The event would likely also require a Marine Event permit from the U.S. Coast Guard. USCG requires the application to be submitted 135 day before the event, a deadline that has passed for an event scheduled for Sept. 2.
The Log reached out to the Coast Guard’s Public Affairs Detachment San Diego to see if an application had been submitted, but did not hear back before this paper went to press.
If the Los Angeles event were to take place along the 25 miles of coast the Department of Beaches & Harbors Los Angeles County oversees, such as Marina del Rey harbor, it would require a permit from the department.
The Log also reached out to the Department of Beaches & Harbors Los Angeles County to see if they had been in contact with the event organizers or had received an event application but also did not hear back.
It could be that all these unanswered questions have answers but were just not supplied to The Log and the events are legitimate. The event would certainly provide a memorable experience and be a welcomed summer activity in a Covid-19 world.