The Ypsilanti independent film festival will return with a drive-in event this month

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The Ypsilanti Independent Film Festival (IFFY) will return for its second year with an outdoor screening of short films at 9:30 p.m. on June 24, and plans to return bigger and better in 2022.

The festival was slated to launch in April 2020 as a multi-day in-person event at the Riverside Arts Center, with after-parties. However, organizers had to scramble to rethink the concept when the COVID-19 pandemic put an end to public events. The organizers finally decided to have an outdoor driving screening and several live broadcast events. at the end of summer 2020.

However, adapting the show to an outdoor format was difficult, says event organizer Donald Harrison.

“One thing we learned last year is that some movies don’t [look] so great in the drive-in when there are street lights and a different setup than an indoor movie theater, ”says Harrison. “This year, we have chosen films to make sure they will perform really well in the drive-through. setting.”

Harrison says IFFY organizers and the Ypsilanti Town Center Development Authority (YDDA) received “excellent feedback” on the organization of the drive-in event last year, and the YDDA was looking forward to sponsoring a similar event this year.

“This is a great way for us to keep IFFY in business for the second year,” said Harrison.

Keeping it small this year also allows organizers to focus on returning to the original vision of a multi-day event inside a theater, something Harrison says he hopes “will become a local annual event. beloved”. In support of this vision, IFFY organizers are working to apply for nonprofit status for the organization.

“Next year our plan is to do what we planned to do last year, but with new movies, new programming and new energy,” Harrison said. “We’re excited to be focusing on something more important for next year when we can do it the way we’ve envisioned.”

This year’s shorts come from all over the world, including the Netherlands, Spain, Japan, the United States and Canada. A Scottish film called “Around the Block” has a local connection that residents of Washtenaw County can appreciate: the subject is Ann Arbor-based sidewalk artist David Zinn.

“The lineup will be vibrant and eclectic, and some of the films will be pushing buttons,” Harrison said. “We’re still in a pandemic, and there are movies that deal with that, and movies that deal with police violence from a young black man’s perspective. I think there will be laughter and laughter. crying and everything. “

The 2021 IFFY Drive-In begins at 9:30 p.m. on June 24 at the Ypsi downtown parking lot on South Huron Street, between Washington Street and South Huron Street, just south of Michigan Avenue. The film festival is free, but RSVPs on IFFY Facebook event page are encouraged. If someone can’t snag a parking spot, Harrison says he’s invited to bring a chair or blanket and a radio to catch the drive-in.

Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti township and project manager for On the Ypsilanti field. She joined Focus as a journalist in early 2017 and occasionally contributes to other Press group publications. You can reach her at [email protected].

Photos courtesy of IFFY.


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