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Movie lovers enjoy drive-in experience in Rankin Inlet

Film lovers are getting a little taste of the drive-in movie experience, thanks to the efforts of Gabriel (DJ Gabe) Karlik and a small group of helpers in Rankin Inlet this summer.

Blaine Chislett enjoys watching a movie with kids in the neighbourhood as Gabriel Karlik does a test run on delivering a great movie experience in Rankin Inlet last fall.
Photos courtesy Gabriel Karlik

Karlik said the whole thing began about a year ago when his son began asking if he could watch a movie outside during his family’s visit to Iglulik.

He said once he returned to Rankin Inlet, he began to look at his various needs in order to cobble together a system and try to show an outdoor movie behind his home.

“Both my son and my daughter wanted to invite some friends over to watch a movie with them, so I started looking at that possibility,” said Karlik.

A recent movie release is projected onto the back of Simon Alaittuq School as Gabriel Karlik brings the drive-in experience to the community of Rankin Inlet this past month.

“It rained every weekend from July to October this past year, so I had to try the system out in my garage.

“So, when a big new release would become available, my kids would invite their friends and classmates over to watch it and that became my test run.

“The garage showings went very well. I just added some popcorn for the kids and they all loved it.”

With all systems go after the test run, Karlik decided it was time to begin testing his system at an outdoor venue.

A quick call to the hamlet’s recreation co-ordinator, David Clark, to gain permission, and the next test site became the community’s ball diamond.

The wind, however, quickly revealed itself to be a major issue at the ball diamond, so Karlik was off again to scout out a new location.

“I wrote a letter to the local District Education Authority for permission to try the back of Simon Alaittuq School because the wall size there is perfect,” said Karlik.

“The loudspeakers I was using were just not enough, so I started looking at other ways to transmit the sound.

“I got my hands on a small FM transmitter to test, and that turned out to be the game changer I needed to try the system out for the community.

The FM transmitter was running sound for a week as I was testing its range, and I was able to do my first community showing this past month on August 8.”

Karlik’s system consisted of a 4K projector, a pair of loudspeakers, an FM transmitter, a media player, a mixer, and a battery-powered 3,000-watt power station to eliminate any unwanted noise.

Karlik said he needed strong magnets to hold up the outdoor screen, which is 300 inches, or a little more than 12 feet by 22 feet (3.6 metres by 6.7 metres).

He said he received help along the way at various stages from James Sandy, Jeff Tulugak, Tommy Bruce, Troy Aksalnik, James Sandy Jr. and Blaine Chislett.

“The community response to the movies has been great.

And, it’s been a real learning experience along the way for me, as well, finding out how to secure the proper licensing for each movie showing, such as a public performance movie licence and a proper movie studio licence.

“The licensing fee for the nine shows in the Tuktu series was $30.

“I’m hoping to be able to continue showing the movies until sometime in October, but weather, of course, is the main issue as far as that’s concerned.”