Drive-in Theater - The Wellfleet Drive-In Theatre opened in 1957- Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism
Credit: Flickr – The Wellfleet Drive-in Theater – Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

It’s been almost 90 years since the first drive-in movie theater opened in New Jersey in 1933, and thanks to the coronavirus, they are making a trendy comeback. During this time, festivals have had to find creative ways to showcase films, many opting for virtual cinemas and online screenings. The drive-in experience allows film-lovers and movie-goers to indulge in the community-shared experience that cinemas provide while also social distancing and staying safe. Check out the drive-in film festivals and their featured titles, happening between July and August.

1. Provincetown Film Festival

Provincetown, MA

July 16-19

The Provincetown International Film Festival (PIFF) announced in late June, “Provincetown Reimagined,” a modified festival with drive-in and virtual screenings running from July 16-19.

Additionally, Independent Spirit Award-winning actress Mya Taylor (Tangerine) will be honored with the Festival’s Next Wave Award in a special conversation with her latest feature, Stage Mother included in the festival lineup.

Featured Films

Coded Bias, Shalini Kantayya: When MIT Media Lab researcher Joy Buolamwini discovers that most facial-recognition software does not accurately identify darker-skinned faces and the faces of women, she delves into an investigation of widespread bias in algorithms. As it turns out, artificial intelligence in not neutral, and women are leading the charge to ensure that civil rights are protected.

Identifying Features, Fernanda Valadez: Magdalena (Mercedes Hernandez) has lost contact with her son after he left home with a friend from their town of Guanajuato to cross the border into the U.S., hopeful to find work. Desperate to know whether or not he’s alive—she embarks on an increasingly dangerous journey to discover the truth.

Two Of Us, Filippo Meneghetti: Two retired women, Nina (Barbara Sukowa) and Madeleine (Martine Chevallier), have been secretly in love for decades. They come and go between their two apartments, enjoying the affection and pleasures of daily life together, until an unforeseen event turns their relationship upside down and leads Madeleine’s daughter to gradually unravel the truth about them. 

Check out the full list of films and schedule here.

2. Indy Shorts International Film Festival

Indianapolis, IN

July 21-26

Indy Shorts International Film Festival, presented by Heartland Film, is an Academy Award®-qualifying fest dedicated to the art of short film. The largest short film festival in the Midwest, Indy Shorts showcases storytelling from around the world in Indianapolis. Shorts will be available via virtual festival July 21-26 with select screenings happening at the Tibbs Drive-In Theater July 23-26.

Check out the festivals guide book:

Opening Night Shorts

Sonnie, Sam Mirpoorian: For Deon “Sonnie” Casey, life has not gone according to plan. Raised by his grandmother after the death of his parents, Deon is now a single parent himself, determined to provide a better life for his son. Finding strength and solace in competitive weightlifting and his work at the YMCA, Deon pushes onward in the hope that things will get better.

20 Over, Chad Veal: Star track athlete Noah Malone was only in middle school when he began developing a rare eye disease that eventually left him legally blind. Amidst these difficult circumstances, Noah pursues greater achievements and continues to break down barriers.

For Rose, Selena Webb: As Josie’s life comes to an end, her daughter’s is just beginning. She leaves behind a gift to remind Rose of the lessons she learned throughout her life and the memories she always wants her daughter to remember.

Check out the full list of films and schedule here.

3. Greenpoint Film Festival

Greenpoint & Long Island City, NY

August 1-9

Returning for its 9th year, the Greenpoint Film Festival will take run from August 1-9 in two parts: the first at the parking lot on Meserole and Jewel Avenues in Greenpoint, the second at The Foundry in Long Island City. The line up features 27 shorts and 8 features covering all genres from experimental to documentary.

Featured Films

Before/during/after, Stephen Kunken & Jack Lewars: Jennie Lonergan, a middle-aged NYC theatre actress, is forced to figure out the kind of person she wants to be when her seemingly perfect 15-year marriage comes to an end. 

Chuck Berry, Jon Brewer: Chuck Berry tells the story of the Granddaddy of Rock & Roll. In this highly anticipated feature-length documentary, the absolute instigator of Rock and Roll, Chuck Berry is truly revealed with exclusive access to his family, friends, famous fans, and music icons he inspired.

Locked Alone, Yung-Jen Yang: After ending a long-distance relationship, Catherine moves into a luxury apartment in NYC and starts to feel a strange presence. The evil entity lockers Catherine in her apartment alone with limited resources, will she get out alive?

Check out the full list of films and schedule here.

4. Sidewalk Film Festival

Leeds, Alabama

August 24-30

Birmingham’s annual film festival historically held in the downtown Theatre District will transition to the outdoor location of The Grand River Drive-In at The Backyard in Leeds due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 event transition will provide this year’s attendees with a safe option to view the more than 150 features and short films set to screen during the August 24-30 festival.

Featured Films

Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets, Bill Ross IV, Turner Ross: A look at the final moments of a Las Vegas dive bar called ‘The Roaring 20s.’

The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain, David Midell: Based on the true story of the events that led to the death of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., an elderly African American veteran with bipolar disorder, who was killed during a conflict with police officers who were dispatched to check on him.

Ema, Pablo Larraín: A couple deals with the aftermath of an adoption that goes awry as their household falls apart.

Check out the full list of films and schedule here.

5. Tribeca Drive-In

Multiple Locations

July 2-26

Tribeca Film Festival announced the Tribeca Drive-Ins in late June, with locations across the country, coast to coast. The program includes over 30 iconic movies every weekend (Thursday-Sunday) in July with a percentage of the proceeds going to Black Lives Matter.

Featured Films

Superbad, Judd Apatow, Shauna Robertson: Two co-dependent High School guys comically struggle between girls and their own separation anxiety.

Straight Outta Compton, F. Gary Gray: Straight Outta Compton tells the true story of how five young cultural rebels stood up to the authorities that meant to keep them down and formed the world’s most dangerous group, N.W.A.

Wonder Woman, Patty Jenkins: Convinced she can stop the threat and fighting alongside man in a war to end all wars, Diana will discover her full powers and her true destiny. 

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