I, Harry Hayman, enjoy Philadelphia’s long list of cultural events that happen every day in this city. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the city is missing some of that character that makes working and living here such an experience. In the current landscape where all large scale events have been canceled or postponed until February 28th, 2021, finding things to do that celebrate the rich artistic history of Philadelphia has proven difficult. That is why I was pleased to receive my pass to partake in the Philadelphia Film Society’s First-Ever Virtual SummerFest!
As theaters remained closed for the time being, the PFS SummerFest adapted and has gone virtual. In years past, Summerfest has been a showcase for independent films fresh off of the festival circuit. This year’s virtual festival aims to bring you similar experience and still provide that showcase for the excellent independent movies of 2020. The PSF programming team selected the lineup of films and wanted to deliver that festival experience that many people are currently missing.
The PFS utilized their new “virtual theater” to make the Virtual SummerFest a reality. The Virtual Theater allows the PFS to bring the curated film selection members and patrons of the PFS Roxy and Philadelphia Film Center directly to your home. In addition to bringing the curated lineup to attendee’s homes, the PFS developed a festival atmosphere in the virtual space.
They accomplished that atmosphere by hosting virtual Q&A sessions with the creators of the films in the form of Zoom webinars. Keeping that feeling of a festival panel was vital for the Virtual Summerfest formula, and the PFS delivered on that promise.
The Virtual SummerFest was the last event in the PFS “Save Our Screens” Campaign, the organization’s effort to raise funds to keep the organization funded through the end of the year. As of this writing, they have smashed their goal of $150,000.
As a hospitality management specialist, I, Harry Hayman, appreciate the arts and enjoy thought-provoking independent films that may not receive the widespread attention they deserve. I am proud that I could do my part in helping this venerable organization keep the lights on during these uncertain times, and I hope you will consider donating as well. To learn more about me and my efforts throughout the Philadelphia restaurant scene, feel free to contact me or follow my Instagram!