Monday, August 31st, we welcomed WIFF Executive Director, Vincent Georgie to discuss the new WIFF Under the Stars drive-in concept and how COVID has changed the festival. 

The past few months have been both a surprising and challenging time for many, including the Windsor International Film Festival! Bringing the community back together was the ultimate goal of Executive Director Vincent Georgie and his team.

Vincent explained to Rotarians that they knew the community wouldn't be mad if they decided to cancel November WIFF. Still, they shift their perspective to look for opportunities. Together, they rose to the challenge of "what can we do instead?" Doing "nothing" was not an option for the group.

After brainstorming different ideas back in April, they settle on a drive-in concept. The problem was that this solution was proposed while Windsor was still in Phase 1. There were still so many unknowns, like what the other phases look like, when we will get there, and can we pull it off in time? The team was really working in total darkness when it came to predicting the pandemic's future.

"We really wanted to keep it very affordable and accessible for as many people as possible," says Vincent.

From reaching out to sponsors to the layout of the parking lot, every detail was meticulously planned. The parking lot was designed so that everyone would have a great viewing experience no matter where you were parked.

Instead of a typical drive-in projector, they used an LED wall. The equivalent of 50 giant LED screens glued together to build the drive-in at the Riverfront Plaza. This format allows them to show movies during the day for kids!

Not to mention the unique location of the WIFF festival offers stunning views of the Detroit skyline and sunsets.

In collaboration with the WIFF team, some significant sponsors are responsible for this year's WIFF Under The Stars' success. The community came together and acted quickly to help bring this to life. Vincent says that without the community players who came to the plate right away with their financial support, the team could have never pulled this off.

The event launched this past Saturday and has been a massive success. Welcoming back legacy WIFF lovers, and it has also attracted a lot of new faces! This year, the group has been mindful in their movie selection, noting that they can't be sure what anyone is going through right now. All of the films selected from 6 different countries are light-hearted. 

The festival runs until September 13th! Check out the website to learn more and purchase your tickets


Photo credit: Zishan Ali