FIlms at the Gate (2006-present)

Since 2006, every summer, a vacant lot near Boston’s Chinatown Gate is transformed into a free, outdoor theater, showing Kung-Fu and classic Chinese-language films. Films at the Gate is a collaborative project of Boston Street Lab, film curator Jean Lukitsh, and the Asian Community Development Corporation. The series seeks to:
  • improve awareness of Boston's Chinatown as a site of cultural activity
  • restore a tradition of shared, public experience of Chinese-language films in Chinatown, 
  • provide temporary community use of Chinatown's underutilized spaces, 
  • draw foot-traffic to neighborhood restaurants, and make downtown Boston a destination beyond the working hours.
The Asian Community Development Corporation (ACDC) is a community-based organization serving the Asian American community of Greater Boston, with an emphasis on preserving and revitalizing Boston's Chinatown. Jean Lukitsh is the curator of the series. Jean is a former resident of Chinatown, and was the projectionist for two of the three cinemas that existed in Boston's Chinatown in the 70s and 80s. Leslie and Sam Davol are founding producers of the event. After moving to Chinatown with their two children in 2005 and starting Films at the Gate, they founded the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Street Lab. In 2013, they handed off production of the event to ACDC youth, who continue the tradition each year.

Films at the Gate Web Site

See this year's film schedule at ACDC. Or visit where we maintain an archive of years past.

Go Behind the Scenes: our Blog

Over the years that we produced Films at the Gate, we wrote about it on the Street Lab Blog.

A tradition of film in Chinatown

Until the late 1980s, Chinatown had three movie theaters which showed double-features three times a day, often to packed houses from midday to midnight. Whole families would attend, and children would often play in the aisles. In the 1970s and 80s, concessions consisted of vending machine-goods, bags of popcorn, and fortune cookies brought in by the owner. Patrons often brought in their own food as well. Jackie Chan movies were especially popular. Facing pressure from the popularity of home video rentals, all three cinemas closed in the 1980's.




Our Recent Blog Posts about Films at the Gate:

Films at the Gate 2016

Don’t miss Films at the Gate this year! Back for an eleventh year on Friday – Sunday, August 26 – 28. Schedule available at ACDC. Or take a look back at years past here.

Films at the Gate 10th Anniversary

Films at the Gate returns for the tenth time! More details over at ACDC. Come out and watch films under the stars.

Films at the Gate: 9th year!

Time again for Films at the Gate! What began nine years ago as an effort to transform a vacant lot in Boston’s Chinatown has become an enduring tradition: a free, outdoor series of Chinese-language films under the stars. Learn about the project here. Friday-Sunday, Sept. 12-14, 2014. Schedule here. See you by the Gate!

Films at the Gate 2013: schedule is here!

It’s time again for Films at the Gate! What began in 2006 as an effort to transform a vacant lot in Boston’s Chinatown has become an enduring tradition: a free, outdoor series of Chinese-language films under the stars. Learn about the project here. Friday-Sunday, Sept. 13-15. Curator Jean Lukitsh has provided the film choices for 2013, […]

Films at the Gate: on to the weekend

The first two nights of Films at the Gate have been wonderful—not an empty seat in the “house.” If you are coming down this weekend, feel free to bring your own seating so we can offer more chairs to seniors and kids. For the first time in seven years, Leslie and I will have to […]

View all of our blog posts about Films at the Gate here.