It was the Vineyard’s first big cancellation of the Covid-19 pandemic, when the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival announced March 11 that it would not hold its 20th annual event in Chilmark later that month.

But you can’t keep a good festival down. Over the summer the film festival partnered with the YMCA of Martha’s Vineyard to create the Vineyard drive-in, which opened in July behind the ice arena in Oak Bluffs.

“It’s been a wonderful collaborative effort,” said festival program director Brian Ditchfield. “The Y has just been an absolutely incredible partner the whole way.”

The summer series included new films — some of which had originally been slated for the March festival — as well as Jaws, The Blues Brothers, Frozen and other favorites, on a pay-what-you-can basis with proceeds going to the festival, the Y, the Island Food Pantry and Vineyard House.

Island audiences embraced the new drive-in, selling out every screening all summer long. And this week, the film festival will host its rescheduled 20th annual festival there from Oct. 8-12.

“It’s giving us an opportunity to share some of the films that we wanted to play back in March, and also some of these fabulous new films that are coming out,” Mr. Ditchfield said.

The festival opens Thursday with The Way I See It, the new documentary about presidential photographer Pete Souza directed by Island resident Dawn Porter. Ms. Porter, who also directed John Lewis: Good Trouble, will introduce the film Thursday night.

Friday’s film is comedy-drama The Dark Divide, starring David Cross and Debra Messing and based on the nonfiction writing of American lepidopterist Robert M. Pyle.

“He sets out to look for rare species of butterflies and moths, but of course the journey winds up being so much more,” Mr. Ditchfield said. “It’s beautiful and fun and funny.”

Half the proceeds from Friday’s ticket sales will be donated to the National Wildlife Federation, according to the festival website.

Saturday brings a trio of Vineyard-related films to the drive-in.

Best Summer Ever, screening at 6 p.m., is a musical comedy from Zeno Mountain Films, part of the Zeno Mountain camp network established by former Camp Jabberwocky volunteers Ila and Peter Halby, who are the movie’s executive producers.

The Halbys, along with director Mike Randa, writer and producer Andrew Pilkington and actor Shannon DeVido, will introduce Best Summer Ever, which stars many performers with disabilities.

“This movie is an absolutely delightful romp,” Mr. Ditchfield said.

A short documentary about Misty Meadows Equine Learning Center in West Tisbury will screen before Best Summer Ever, and Mr. Ditchfield said some horses from the center will make an appearance as well.

“It’s going to make for a very special night,” he said.

Saturday at 8:30 p.m., the festival screens Somewhere With No Bridges, a documentary about former Oak Bluffs shellfish constable Richie Madeiras, who was lost at sea in October 1999.

“It’s a powerful, powerful film and a beautiful honoring of Richie’s spirit,” Mr. Ditchfield said. Members of Mr. Madeiras’s family, with director Charles Frank, will introduce the 58-minute documentary.

Sunday’s film, showing at 7 p.m., is The Boy from Medellín, a documentary about Colombian music star J Balvin in the context of his country’s turmoil. Director Matthew Heineman, a longtime Chilmarker who also directed Cartel Land, will introduce the film via Zoom.

The festival closes Monday at 7 p.m. with I Am Greta, a new documentary about the teenaged Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.

“That’s another movie of the moment that we wouldn’t have played if we had had our festival in March,” Mr. Ditchfield said. “It’s a brand new film.”

Though this year’s drive-in festival won’t have the popular Hay Café, with chef-cooked meals, Chilmak Coffee and a steady stream of musicians performing for hay-bale-perched audiences, Mr. Ditchfield said there will be live music by Johnny Hoy and others.

“As it happens over Indigenous Peoples (Day) weekend, we will be honoring . . . the Wampanoag tribe and working with tribal members for music and some stories,” he said.

The film festival will continue the pay-what-you-can model, he added.

“It’s the first time we’ve ever been able to do that with the film festival,” Mr. Ditchfield said, crediting the YMCA and town of Oak Bluffs for supporting the event.

“One of the great things to come out of this [pandemic] are these collaborations and partnerships, which will last,” he said.

For more information and to purchase drive-in tickets, visit