Rooftop Films Secure the Legacy of NYFF


Steve McQueen’s “Lovers Rock”, was being screened before its final premiere, the next night at the opening, of the celebrated New York Film Festival. It was evident that an entirely unique experience awaits the audience and citizens, for it is not the usual experience, repeated every year.

Instead, this is celebrating a film festival, amidst a global pandemic. A 62-foot screen was installed in the middle of a 188,000-square-foot field behind the New York Hall of Science at Queens.

You guessed it right – a drive-in was arranged, as the medium through which the New York Film Festival will be celebrated this year, and the huge screen will aid in premiering films, while the audience will sit in their respective vehicles and enjoy the experience.

Dan Nuxoll, the artistic director of Rooftop Films, who is in charge of supervising various logistics, claims that the field has the capacity of adjusting 200 cars. But most of the other audience will have to experience the unfolding of the film festival from home.

Nuxoll has been acquainted with Eugene Hernandez, since April 2020, and the potential of the Rooftop Films was noticed by the latter when the Rooftop Films organized drive-in screenings for the Museum of the Moving Image. Rooftop Films would then collaborate with Hernandez, to organize similar procedures for the film festival.

They finalized on three locations, where the screens would be installed – the Queens venue, two screens at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, each of which would accommodate 80 cars each, and a third at the Bronx Zoo. Considering the rich tradition and legacy that the New York Film Festival upholds, Rooftop Films played an extremely crucial role, in preserving the same.

Hernandez has officially asserted that “We literally could not do the festival this year without Rooftop Films”. A thrilling and enigmatic cinematic journey awaits the audience at these drive-ins. American Utopia, a record of David Byrne’s Broadway show, directed by Spike Lee, is expected to be a hit.

Sofia Coppola may even attend the festival for On the Rocks (undoubtedly, more suitable for a drive-in screening). There is an endless list of internationally acclaimed films that will be screened during the festival.

The New York Film Festival will continue till October 11.


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