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Arts & Culture

Highland Square Film Fest returns to Akron

An image of Market St. in Highland Square neighborhood of Akron
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The Highland Square Theatre will be one of several venues hosting films during this year's festival.

Akron's Highland Square Film Festival returns next month after a pandemic hiatus. And it’s expanding to a daylong event.

The film fest went virtual due to coronavirus in 2020, and then skipped 2021. This year, instead of being a single afternoon in December at the Highland Theatre, the festival will take place on May 14 and include short films at venues throughout the neighborhood. Mina Riazi co-chairs the festival.

“We will have a premiere film opening the day. It’s ‘Akron,’ the film, which is an amazing love story written and directed by Brian O’Donnell. [He] is going to come in from New York City for a Q&A.”

There will also be a pre-fest event the night before – on Friday the 13th -- at the Nightlight Cinema with horror director J.R. Bookwalter and his 1985 classic, "Dead Next Door." Akron filmmakers can submit shorts for the festival until this Friday.

Riazi hopes the film fest will become the silver screen complement to the annual PorchRokr music festival, which will bookend summer in Akron. More information on the festival's events -- including musical performances, vendor tables, and a yoga session -- is available here. The day closes with an awards ceremony, followed by a dance party featuring DJ Ben Crazy and film-themed music.