In four hours, community members raised enough money to get a new effort across the finish line to completion.

Drive-in movies will soon be offered in Borderland, thanks to the efforts of the IFalls Nice group, and donations from supporters through an online campaign.

“We bought an inflatable movie screen (a few months ago) to do a drive-in movie somewhere,” said Harley Droba, member of IFalls Nice and mayor of International Falls.

The idea for the drive-in movie came after the group made the decision in May to cancel the 2020 Concerts in the Park series. Droba explained the decision to cancel the concerts wasn’t just about social distancing, but more about funding the effort.

“We always get money from local businesses,” Droba said describing how it provides funding to local artists, who are involved in the weekly performances at Smokey Bear Park.

But because many local businesses had to be closed or lost revenue due to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Droba said IFalls Nice members couldn’t ask them to financially support the effort this summer.

Instead, the group decided to get creative and offer something else for the community. An inflatable screen and projector was purchased for about $1,100, but the pricey portion of drive-in movies is paying for the “public performance” license from the copyright owners of films.

“(IFalls Nice) members brainstormed ways to fund drive-in movies and we came up with the idea to do a fundraiser for it,” Droba said.

The fundraiser was launched at 10 a.m. Monday morning, and met its $2,400 goal just four hours later.

The goal was then extended to $3,500, which was reached in another two hours.

As of this report, nearly $5,000 has been raised, and Droba said this is the final amount it will be capped at.

“It’s incredible,” he said of the community support. “I can’t wait to get this started.”

At the time this story was written, a location or start date for the movies had not yet been set in stone, but Droba said IFalls Nice members were meeting with Falls Superintendent Kevin Grover Wednesday to determine if the Falls High School parking lot would be feasible.

“We’re hoping to show a movie as early as next week,” Droba added.

In addition to the film on the big screen, Cine 5 will offer concessions at movie events.

“We’re really excited about this,” Droba said. “I think people will really enjoy it.”

A small fee per vehicle will be charged for admission to the movie, and all funds raised will go back into the effort to be able to continue it next year in addition to concerts in the park.

And, because the equipment can be easily moved, Droba said the Falls City Council may also discuss having movies at City Beach.

“Nothing has been decided yet, but there are a lot of possibilities out there,” he said. “It’s amazing how in a short amount of time, so many people came together on this project to make it happen.”

For more information on when and where movies will be shown, follow the IFalls Nice Facebook page.

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