An iconic church is becoming the weekly hot-spot for Manitobans curious about french culture.

A local organization is seeing both the franco-curious and fluent french speakers enjoy films at an unlikely Winnipeg location: the Saint-Boniface Cathedral.

Sylvie Foidart, the Coordinator of Tourism Product Development for CDEM, says the idea to screen french films began over a year ago.

Last summer, CDEM visited communities across the province to screen films, but this year, they needed to rethink their event.

"We wanted to offer something that was community-based that is just getting people together in a safe way," Foidart says.

With the current pandemic, CDEM found it less-than-ideal to visit multiple communities across the province but discovered an ideal location that not only allowed for distancing but also provided film-goers with a unique experience.

CDEM is screening the films "under the stars" inside of the ruins of the Saint-Boniface Cathedral.

"People are just enjoying this. It is like a night out and you feel like it is a regular summer. It is something different, something unique that you can do this summer."

The Cinema Under the Stars event plays french movies with english subtitles, allowing non-french speaking people to enjoy the films. 

Foidart says the cinema is a great opportunity for parents of children in french-language programs to bond over french culture.

"It is a great way to immerse yourself in the francophone culture."

Previously playing films such as La passion d’Augustine and La Bolduc, the festival is now entering a hockey theme.

"It seems to be aligning with the games going on right now," Foidart laughs. She says the unintentional film choice was more about what they think would "attract a crowd" than following the playoff season.

Foidart adds that those wanting to join the free event can bring their lawn chairs, blankets, snacks, and whatever else families desire to the showings.

"You just need to show up and enjoy the movie."

The weekly program is a large success, seeing anywhere from 70-100 people each Thursday night.

The only stipulation for the event is guests must register for a ticket.

"All you need to know is you do need to reserve in advance. It is free, but without a ticket you cannot get in. We make sure that everybody's safety is the number one (priority), and we limit the amount of people."

Foidart says people can call "233-ALLÔ" or email to reserve their ticket.

The showings are happening until the end of August, but there is the possibility for the event to be extended into September.