This year’s festival kicks off on November 5th and offers 183 independent films, many viewable in-person and all of them live-streamed online, Last year, as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, YoFi Fest was forced to become virtual. However, this year things are different and the festival is back as a hybrid event. There will be a mix of virtual filmmaker Q&A’s, educational workshops led by entertainment industry professionals, and in-person networking events, receptions, and parties.
Nine years ago YoFiFest started with a mission to showcase the work of independent filmmakers and to provide educational and cultural opportunities that otherwise would not exist in the area. This year, it is more committed than ever to continuing that mission, so from November 5th through November 21st, YoFiFest will present 183 films from 25 countries and right here in Westchester's backyard. The films include features, documentaries, shorts, animation, music videos, web series, and student work. The festival provides an amazing opportunity for audiences to watch films that they might not see anywhere else.
Like many other organizations, YoFiFest is taking measures to protect its visitors and staff. After much thoughtful consideration and discussion with City, County, and State officials over concerns about the spread of COVID variants, this year’s YoFiFest will include special safety precautions for all in-person screenings, workshops, and events happening at the festival.
“This decision was not made lightly, but the safety of our audience and filmmakers is a top priority,” said Dave Steck, YoFi’s Executive Director and co-founder, “We made the decision to present this year’s festival as a hybrid experience, so everyone has access to every movie and can choose to watch them wherever they are most comfortable.”
With this year’s hybrid festival, audiences have the flexibility of viewing a film in person at the Yonkers Riverfront Library theater or online as a simultaneous livestream. Both the online and in-person audiences will also get to view the filmmaker talkbacks that follow each screening.
“One of the great things about having the films streaming this year is that we’re able to reach nearly every corner of the planet,” said Patty Schumann, the festival’s co-founder and programmer, “The filmmaker talkbacks are one of the best parts of the film festival and this year almost every one of our filmmakers plan to attend their film’s Q&A!”
“When we started the film festival nine years ago, Yonkers wasn’t known as a film-friendly city,” added Steck, “But with an increasing number of movies and television shows shooting here, and Lionsgate building a new $100 million studio complex right outside the YoFi Digital Media Art Center, it’s beginning to feel like people are realizing what we’ve known for awhile—Yonkers is Hollywood on the Hudson!”
FilmFreeway named YoFiFest one of the “Top 100 Best Reviewed Festivals” nine times. It’s also been named “Best of Westchester” twice by Westchester Magazine, and it was named as one of the top ten reasons Yonkers was voted the “Hippest Town in the Lower Hudson Valley” by The Journal News/LoHud.
Information and tickets are available at YoFiFest.com.