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Durham Region International Film Festival going virtual

The Durham Regional International Film Festival (DRIFF) is going virtual for its event this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and will close on the final night with a drive-in movie.

By Courtney Bachar/The Oshawa Express/LJI Reporter

The Durham Region International Film Festival (DRIFF) is going to a look different this year.

Due to the pandemic, the three-day international film festival is going virtual.

“Everything had to be transformed because of the pandemic,” says DRIFF Chair Carla Sinclair. “We wanted to still be able to hold the festival, and decided to reshape it to be a new type of delivery system while still keeping that Durham experience-based event we have every year,” she adds.

The event runs from October 1 to 3 and will show all the films online in a virtual format the first two days, followed by a drive-in experience on the final day.

“Film festivals are amazing touch points to be able to connect with the rest of the world from the comfort of a theatre, your couch or a drive-in,” says Sinclair. “As we grow the festival, we’re really hoping to shine a spotlight on the Region of Durham,” she adds, noting there are four prize categories awarded each year. Winners for best student film, best short film and best feature film receive $500, and the winner of the best regional film receives $1,000.

“We are trying to lift up our local filmmakers, but we also have an international component because we feel it’s important to stay connected with what’s happening artistically around the world in terms of film,” says Sinclair.

Submissions for the film festival are still being accepted until July 15 with screening details to be announced in September.

RMG Fridays usually take place at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery on the first Friday of every month, however due to the pandemic, the event has gone virtual. (RMG photo)

DRIFF in a Jiff returns

DRIFF in a Jiff has returned in a virtual format.

RMG Fridays, which normally takes place at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery on the first Monday of every month, was halted in March due to the pandemic. However, the monthly event returned this month online.

“This is one of our main marketing opportunities, to really connect one-on-one with the public and show them the type of films the festival is playing, and get them involved in that scene,” says Sinclair, noting going virtual with RMG Fridays allows others to continue sharing stories from filmmakers and learning about the world of the medium of film.

The event also includes live question-and-answer engagement with the filmmaker.

RMG Fridays runs on the first Monday of every month from 7 to 10 p.m. For more information, visit