New York Film Festival Adds Bronx Zoo As Drive-In Screening Site

NYFF Brooklyn Drive-in
A drive-in at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, one of the three outdoor screening sites for this year's New York Film Festival. Film at Lincoln Center

EXCLUSIVE: The New York Film Festival’s unorthodox 58th edition, which starts next week, has added a drive-in at the Bronx Zoo to its roster of screening sites.

Three films have been confirmed to screen at the location, which has been built in the zoo’s south parking lot. Steve McQueen’s Lovers Rock, which is the opening selection at the festival next Thursday at a drive-in in Queens, will be shown in the Bronx on September 23. The other two titles are Art Movie Hell, on September 27, and American Utopia on October 7.

A major cultural event based on the campus of Lincoln Center on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, the festival has had to make significant adjustments this year due to COVID-19. Film at Lincoln Center, the organization that puts on the fest, had hoped to preserve some in-theater aspects of the event. With New York state officials holding firm on their theater restrictions and the New York City exhibition market still locked down, that option expired.

Screenings and talks will instead be held either online or at drive-ins in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. The outer boroughs’ involvement at least gives the non-profit organization an opportunity to sell tickets to audiences not always at the core of the festival’s audience. With travel significantly restricted, the usual international mix of audiences and filmmakers won’t be in attendance, at least physically. A broader swath of ticket buyers can stream films outside of New York, another new twist with potential upside.

In addition to announcing the new drive-in details, festival organizers also released the official trailer for this year’s festival. Check it out above.

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