The Black Bear Film Festival was in the early planning stages for their 21st Annual Festival when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and they realized the festival was going to have to be different this year.
“The Board chose not to solicit donations from our local businesses and individual patrons, based on the economic effects the pandemic was having on Milford area restaurants and retailers,” board member Liz Steen said.
They wanted to give something back to the community for supporting them all these years, especially now during this difficult time.
“We had such a great festival last year with tremendous support from the community, and we wanted to do some under these circumstances that gave back,” Board President Max Brinson said.
So they decided on a drive-in theater which would be a way of offering their high-quality films at a reasonable price.
With the help of Dennis Lee, a Dingmans Ferry resident who is planning to open a Dingmans Ferry theatre in the spring, BBFF developed a drive-in festival at Akenac Park on Route 739 in Dingmans Ferry.
This was, according to board programmer and technical advisor Jerry Weinstock, the perfect solution.
“We wanted to keep the festival alive by offering a way for people to see some of the most recent independent films at a reasonable cost in a safe and socially distant environment,” he said. “We are also making our usual free Salon available virtually in this unprecedented time.”
The main stage is the drive-in at Akenac. There will be a double feature for each night. Tickets are $25 per car load each night. The link to buy tickets is:
People can enter the Park at 6:30 p.m. and the first movie each night will start about 7:30 p.m.
There will be a limit of 100 cars each night.
The BBFF’s Salon, though always free, will be virtual this year and without any discussion. There will be 20 independent films selected for the Salon. The films will be listed on the BBFF website.
The Artful Bears have always been a part of the BBFF. This year there will be no Debut Picnic, but instead these bears will be on display all weekend, culminating with a live auction on Sunday at 2 p.m. on the BBFF Facebook page. Bids should be posted in the comments section.
There will be a short film, “The Three Bears”, by famed film maker, Christopher King, which will be available on the website. These are vignettes showing the creative process of three of the bear artists.
The people in the BBFF are very focused on the community. Board member Veronica Coyne, leads a playwriting/ screenwriting group which meets every second Tuesday to give and receive feedback on each other’s work. Participation includes free Final Draft Screenwriting/playwright software and recordings are created of full-length screenplays/plays. Meetings are held on Zoom at this time to keep everyone safe.
The BBFF was recently awarded a $1,000 grant from the Dick Snyder fund of the Greater Pike Community foundation for its drive-in theatre and virtual Salon event.
They are also reaching out to the community for volunteers who want to help with the logistics of this event. Interested people should call 570.832.4858 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For tickets please visit