The Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival in conjunction with the YMCA of Martha’s Vineyard kicked off their summer of drive-in movies Wednesday night with the showing of John Lewis: Good Trouble.

The parking lot on the north side of the Martha’s Vineyard Ice Arena was lined with lights and packed with cars. A light breeze kept a rather humid night at bay, and with their windows rolled down, moviegoers enjoyed popcorn and other snacks from home. Some brought wine, some brought pets. The crowd mingled at a safe distance from one another before the movie started and then settled into their cars for the feature presentation, tuning their radios to 89.9 FM for sound.

“We sold out only hours after putting it online. It was really amazing,” said Brian Ditchfield, artistic director of the film festival.

Thomas Bena, Dawn Porter and Jill Robie Axtell. — Ray Ewing

Mr. Ditchfield said putting the drive-in together “was a feat, but working with the folks at the Y feels like two organizations really came together to make it happen. We really divided and conquered. It takes a village.”

The subject of the documentary, John Lewis, has led a life of activism, helping to organize the 1963 March on Washington as the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. In 1987, he was elected to represent Georgia’s fifth congressional district in 1987 and is currently serving his 17th term in the House of Representatives. In 2011, President Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He is also a regular summer visitor to the Vineyard.

Before the movie began, Dawn Porter, the director of the documentary, stood in the flatbed of a vintage Ford pickup and addressed the crowd.

“This film is so special to me,” she said. “I spent a year following Congressman Lewis as he embarked upon what will be his last congressional year in service. He was so open, honest and generous with us. Congressman Lewis began his life of activism as a teenager, so for all of you teenagers out there, never let any of your parents tell you to be quiet because we need you right now.”

Showings are Wednesdays through Saturdays. — Ray Ewing

She continued: “The congressman’s life of service and resilience is an example to us. It’s really fitting that this film that celebrates creativity and service is opening night. It’s an incredible honor. I’m so glad I could be here.”

The film includes footage of Bloody Sunday where Mr. Lewis led more than 600 demonstrators over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala. in 1965. It also shows footage of the 1960 Nashville sit-in, and Mr. Lewis’ speech during the March on Washington. And the film covers the ongoing battle over voter suppression in America, striking a stark contrast between the enactment of the Voting Rights act of 1965 and the 2013 Supreme Court decision which allowed states to change their election laws without advance federal approval.

“I hope you have conversations with your families about what it means to get into good trouble,” Ms. Porter said just before the film began. “I was able to speak to the congressman this week. He is comfortable at home in Atlanta surrounded by his friends and family. Every time any of you tweet or say you’re getting into good trouble, his staff shares that with him and it raises his spirits and he knows that his life of service has not been in vain.”