Windsor

WIFF Under the Stars drive-in movies to mark this year's festival

This year's Windsor International Film Festival is moving outdoors.

Tickets are on sale now for outdoor version of WIFF, taking place Aug. 28 to Sep. 12

Windsor's Festival Plaza will transform into a drive-in movie theatre later this month for WIFF Under The Stars, an outdoor event to mark this year's festival. (Sanjay Maru/CBC)

This year's Windsor International Film Festival is moving outdoors. 

WIFF Under The Stars, as it's being called, will be a drive-in movie theatre style event at the city's waterfront, to comply with COVID-19 safety measures. 

"We are so thrilled to be able to provide our community with some much-needed escape this Summer with a line-up of classic and favourite films to enjoy," said WIFF executive director Vincent Georgie, in a press statement.

Georgie thanked community partners, including Windsor's mayor and city council for supporting the event. 

Family-friendly and classic movies will be on offer during day and evening screenings at Windsor's Festival Plaza running from Aug. 28 to Sept. 12. The plaza will be open at 8 a.m. for matinees and at 6 p.m. for evening screenings. 

About 88 cars can fill the plaza, said Georgie, at a cost of $40 per vehicle for evening double-features and $20 per vehicle for matinees. 

Viewers will be able to listen to the movie from their car radio or a provided portable radio.

"WIFF is vital to our tourism and hospitality sector, and to Windsor's creative economy," said Mayor Drew Dilkens in a press statement. 

"I was disappointed when they had to make the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 festival. However, the WIFF Under the Stars drive-in initiative is a demonstration of innovation at work. I'm proud of council's support of this current initiative, and of our previous investments in the success of the festival."

Organizers had decided in June to cancel the November festival. They had hoped to capitalize on 2019's momentum; organizers boasted it had been a "banner year" with 42,000 tickets sold.

WIFF, along with four other local events cancelled due to the pandemic, recently shared a $182,000 funding announcement from the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture. The money was part of a $532,000 announcement to bolster the local tourism industry during COVID-19.

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens, left, and Windsor International Film Festival executive director Vincent Georgie, right, announced the drive-in movie plans for this year's WIFF on Wednesday. (Sanjay Maru/CBC)

As part of Stage 2 of reopening, drive-ins are allowed if vehicles are properly distanced, people's movements around the venue site are restricted, and if options for food and beverage services and personal protective equipment for service personnel are included in the planning.

WIFF requested rental fees be waived for the Riverfront Festival Plaza, Riverfront Civic Terrace and Municipal Parking Lot 32 between Aug. 28 and Sept. 12.

Tickets must be purchased in advance and are available for sale at windsorfilmfestival.com/underthestars.

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