The Durham Region Film Festival (DRIFF), like many in the arts community, has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the DRIFF Board of Directors has decided to place a one-year hiatus on the regularly planned fall festival. The team has been hard at work behind the scenes reimagining ways to deliver a 2022 festival, with a continued focus on supporting contemporary and critical films that encourage important dialogue that allows audiences to connect and learn from one another.

In 2021, DRIFF will offer a drive-in format for its screenings from June to September.

Durham Region International Film Festival (DRIFF) presents a series of five drive-in events called Shifting the Narrative. Each event has a theme, begins with a short film and is followed by a feature film. Tickets to each event will be $15 per vehicle.

July 29

Black and Belonging (13 mins) – Francesca Ekwuyasi

Becoming Labrador (70 mins) – Rohan Fernando, with Tamara Segura, & Justin Simms

Earliest arrival time: 7:10pm, Latest arrival time: 8:30pm, Show starts at dusk

Link to waiver for July 29: 

August 26 

Pick (11 mins) – Alicia K. Harris

Home Again (104 mins) – Sudz Sutherland

Earliest arrival time: 6:30pm, Latest arrival time: 7:50pm, Show starts at dusk

Link to waiver for August 26:

Sept 9

At the Botton of the Sea (11 mins) – Caroline So Jung Lee

Window Horses (129 mins) – Anne-Marie Fleming

Earliest arrival time: 6:00pm, Latest arrival time: 7:25pm, Show starts at dusk

Link to waiver for September 9: 

Sept 30

Chocolate (4 mins) – Charlene Moore

Falls Around Her (100 mins) – Darlene Naponse

Earliest arrival time: 5:30pm, Latest arrival time: 6:50pm, Show starts at dusk

Link to waiver for September 30: 

All screenings take place at the  Whitby Town Hall (parking lot behind the municipal building) 575 Rossland Rd E, Whitby, ON L1N 2M8

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It is with great excitement that the DRIFF team is working on a drive-in series of screening events with its partners this year and planning for the  2022 festival,” says DRIFF Chair Greg Murphy. The next iteration of DRIFF’s fall festival will run September 29 – October 1, 2022. 

Shifting the Narrative focuses on Canadian identity in storytelling and culture. We have bridged the gap between experienced and emerging filmmakers by selecting five dynamic filmmakers that have made a mark nationwide (British Columbia to Nova Scotia) through their feature films. Each feature filmmaker selected by DRIFF added to our program by selecting a short film by an emerging filmmaker  to screen prior to the feature

DRIFF believes that creative filmmaking, film appreciation, and digital literacy are best approached through active learning. We value diversity and inclusion, and we centre these values in the program that we will present entitled Shifting the Narrative.

They continue to take the lead from our public health experts while we host our drive-in events throughout the spring and summer months of 2021. Shifting the Narrative will focus on Canadian identity in storytelling, culture, and bridging the gap between experienced and emerging Canadian artists. We have selected five dynamic filmmakers who have made a mark nationwide and whose work will resonate with our diverse audiences in Durham Region. We are excited for the future of the festival and its expansion within the region.

“Despite the challenges COVID-19 has presented, DRIFF sees opportunities for more varied engagements with the film loving community,” says Karen Burwell, DRIFF Vice-Chair. We will continue to work with and support our colleagues in the film community as we plan and deliver the 2022 festival.

The spirit of DRIFF remains intact — a festival that encourages community involvement through a shared love for cinema by offering unique and diverse programming with creative community partnerships.

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Bryen writes about local Durham community news, including regional events, municipality updates, entertainment, lifestyle, and the great outdoors. Email him directly if you want your business profiled or know a community member that deserves recognition -