As the sun sets over the Catskill mountains of Coxsackie, NY, all four projectors of the Hi-Way Drive-In come to life, illuminating four massive silver screens. Born in 1951 along Route 9W, a major thoroughfare at that time,
the Hi-Way has screened movies for over 60 years. Its patrons of all ages come from miles around to experience the nostalgia, romance, and wholesome summer night fun that the drive-in offers.
But the threat of a new era looms closer as major movie studios announce they will no longer produce film prints of their features. But the Hi-Way Drive-In only has 35mm film projectors, and to upgrade all four to digital will cost around $300,000. For longtime owners Roger and Sharon Babcock, switching four projectors to digital is one of the greatest challenges they’ve faced, but they will do anything to keep the magic of their beloved Hi-Way alive.
Ironically, Enjoy Your Intermission is a movie about 35mm film, that was shot using a digital camera. From acquisition to exhibition, the majority of motion pictures are now digital entities; stored on disks of ones-and-zeros, rather than chemical celluloid. As “unromantic” as digital tools may be, there is no arguing their cost benefits and ease of use over film. We are witnessing a turning point, not only for the Hi-Way, but for thousands of movie exhibitors across America.
This theme of “out with the old, in with the new” is central to our story, but it is only the backdrop. At its heart, Enjoy Your Intermission is an intimate look into a piece of Americana that is still thriving, mainly due to the love and respect that the owners, Roger and Sharon, have for the theater and their patrons.
Roger and Sharon have owned the Highway for close to forty years, and worked there prior to purchasing the theater. (In fact, they met at the drive-in. They got married while working at the drive-in. They started a family while working at the drive-in.) It's safe to say that managing the theater runs in their blood and that the employees and moviegoers are all part of their extended family.
If you ever find yourself in the Catskills of New York, you must stop in one evening for a double feature. The Hi-Way begins showing movies as soon as it gets warm enough, usually in late March or early April. They show movies every night until mid-autumn. You can find out which movies they are playing at: