Upper Peninsula Film Union Inc
The U.P. Film Union is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation that was created out
of a love of motion pictures with the primary goal of saving the last remaining
drive-in theater in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, The Highway 2
Community Drive-In Theater.
The U.P. Film Union got its start in the spring of 2016 when Don Erickson
had the idea of trying to organize an outdoor community movie event.
Coincidentally he mentioned the idea to an acquaintance, who happened to
own the old drive-in property outside of Manistique and suggested using the
screen there for the community movie event. The following spring Don met
Eric Sherbinow at a community meeting and mentioned that he was working
on a project at the old drive in. Eric long had an interest in drive-in theaters
and had sought to purchase one years earlier, and the idea of being involved
in a drive-in event was too much to resist so he asked Don if he could help.
That is when the Upper Peninsula Film Union unofficially came into being.
When the Film Union sought to incorporate, they needed a third person for
the board and respected businessman Kevin Knaffla was a natural choice.
He had great interest in film and knowledge of the Film Union’s events. Kevin
brought a wealth of business experience to the Film Union.
The U.P. Film Union typically hosts at least four movie events per season.
These events draw people from across the Upper Peninsula and beyond.
We have drawn attention from individuals as far away as Dallas, Texas.
We’ve hosted family-friendly movie events such as Superhero Night, Star
Wars Night, a beach party at the drive-in, and a Christmas in July. From the
time the Film Union acquired the drive-in, it has been our intention to expand
our events to include more than just movie showings. In recent years we
have hosted the Manistique High School Class of 2020 graduation
ceremony, a Girl Scout bridging ceremony, a Covid-19 safe teacher/student
end of year gathering, as well as a reverse kiddie parade for Independence
Day and Covid-safe pictures with Santa near Christmas. We also hosted a
quarantine trick-or-treat with participating houses around the Manistique
area allowing kids who were in quarantine for Halloween to still receive
candy. We have also partnered with Encore Live (a concert promotion
company) to show a series of concerts at drive-ins all across the country.
Exclusive concerts from Garth Brooks, Metallica and Jon Bon Jovi all graced
the screen at the Highway 2 Community Drive-In Theater. Our largest event
of the year is the annual Fright Night. This year will be our 8th annual event.
We begin the night with a Trunk-or-Treat for area kids (usually we see around
200 kids). Individuals and businesses in the community decorate the trunks
of their vehicles and the kids walk through the drive-in field going from trunk
to trunk getting candy in a fun, safe manner.
The Highway 2 Community Drive-In Theater is one of the very few nonprofit
drive-in theaters in the country (we are aware of only two others besides
ourselves) and it operates like no other. The movie events are always free
to the public thanks to generous sponsors, and we always allow other
nonprofits to operate the concession stand to help raise funds for their cause.
To date, over $26,000 has been raised by area nonprofits in the concession
It is important to note, the Highway 2 Community Drive-In Theater is
absolutely unique as we are the only drive-in movie theater left in the entire
Upper Peninsula. The only place you can experience a drive-in movie in the
U.P. is Schoolcraft County! The free movie events and the concession
operation by other nonprofit organizations truly exemplifies the sense of
community at the Highway 2 Community Drive-In Theater.