Tuning in to Virtual Film Festivals

Man vacuums red carpet on Cannes stairs

While in some parts lockdown and stay home restrictions are easing, it will still be many months before things like the cinema and film festivals are back in full swing. Like many other parts of the arts, and indeed all of society, things have had to change, and fast.

To adapt to the times of distancing and the risks of being in enclosed spaces with one another, film festivals in particular have re-jigged and configured as virtual festivals. Once again, as with so many of these kinds of things, it opens the films up to audiences from all over the world, but it’s a huge loss of the sense of the identity of the event and the connection one feels being with the film lovers.

FODI is on this weekend

The first thing to mention is that the Festival of Dangerous Idea is ON. The in real life (IRL) event was canned due to the C-bug, but it’s been re-configured as a streaming event this weekend 9- 10 May. What’s on? Take a look into China, a country that we’re all thinking and focusing on at the moment, from those who have an in-depth knowledge of it. Wondering about technology’s role in spreading misinformation and how the most damaging culprits are simple voice notes and text messages? Why do we view ageing as a disease medicine needs to fight?

Head over to the website and pick a gnarly issue or intractable problem that takes your interest and get watching. The Broad suggests a glass of red wine and some nibbles to try and recreate the real world experience.

Visit Cannes Film Festival, virtually

The famous Cannes Film Festival as well as the Sundance Festival have both been shuttered this year thanks to the virus. The full Cannes program of films is officially postponed but it’s not yet clear when exactly it will run again. The Festival has announced a special Marche du Film Online will run in late June to facilitate film sales, industry networking, meetings and film screenings.

But Cannes and Sundance aren’t the only film festival shutdown with the coronavirus. The list of dormant festivals includes the Sydney Film Festival, BFI London Film Festival, Venice Film Festival, Tokyo International Film Festival, Berlin International Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Mumbai Film Festival, Marrakech International Film Festival and more.

All is not lost, though, if you’re mourning the loss of your favourite film festival. Tribeca Enterprises has teamed up with YouTube and developed a virtual film event, We Are One: A Global Film Festival, where you can get a first look at this year’s new batch of soon-to-releases film. The virtual film festival kicks off on 29 May and films from 20 separate festivals will be on YouTube to watch until 7 June.

Sydney Film Festival Goes Online

The Sydney Film Festival Goes Online will this year be a virtual film and awards event running from 10 to 21 June. If you’re living elsewhere or locals but struggle to find nights and weekends to devote to film watching, this could be a blessing in being able to enjoy new films from home.

Cabin Fever Cinema

How long ago did you hit peak cabin fever? Perhaps the questions should be how many times have you hit peak cabin fever – last hour, in the last week in the last month? It’s a real syndrome at the moment. And in the spirit of ‘when life gives you lemons, make lemonade’ one artist has started compiling a list of films that can be watch online for the Cabin Fever festival. But this isn’t a Netflix watch list, instead it’s a compilation of experimental films to match all the feels (or moods) induced by life inside. So there’s laugh and smile help, sing and dances inspiration, scream and break something and so on. You can find it online but it comes with a request to think about helping support artists, many of whom can’t work because of venue closures and don’t qualify for government support because of their work patterns.

More Virtual Films and Festivals

The Women Make Movies organisation supports women producers and filmmakers and now has a 2020 virtual film festival.

The French festival Cinema du Reel was cancelled, but it’s teamed up with Mediapart to put 13 films on its site for streaming.

International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) collection has almost 200 titles from the festival’s archives which have been made available through its site.

The Indigenous Cinema site has films, from shorts to feature length, along with documentaries and animations.

My Darling Quarantine Online Film Festival is backed by internet site Talking Shorts and has a curated selection of short films around the theme of dystopia which seems fitting at the moment.

The Ann Arbor Film Festival (AAFF) is doing online screenings of feature films that were shown during the 58th AAFF. Note you need to be a paid member to watch the films.

Boston Jewish Film and The ReelAbilities Film Festival Boston, which aims to entertain, inform, and appreciate viewers about the artistic expressions of people with disabilities, was forced to cancel its festival. But it’s now working to bring the films online.

The Environmental Film Festival has also shifted online and has made dozens of festival films available to stream online.

In other film-related news, Vilnius airport has debuted ‘aerocinema’, a drive-in move theatre at the airport and it’s part of the Vilnius International Film Festival. Drive-in cinemas, where you can watch a movie from the safety of your car bubble are making a comeback it seems.

The Palace Cinema chain in Australia has seen all its cinemas closes but to keep film lovers engaged it’s running a podcast on all things film-related and has an In Focus series looking at important directors like Kathryn Bigelow, who made The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty and Point Blank.

The Sydney Opera House has new full-length performances of plays, music and dance to stream every week. There are also live-streamed events like Charlotte Wood discussing the experience of living through a pandemic and whether it’s an opportunity to pause and provide a unique opportunity for reflection and regeneration.

Main image: Image by Hermann Traub from Pixabay

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Rosalyn Page
Journalist, blogger and writer covering arts, culture, travel and digital lifestyle at www.rosalynpage.com and www.somenotesfromabroad.com.

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