Film festivals in the age of Corona-The Possibility of a Hybrid

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A very few things on the global front were left untouched by the upheaval of the pandemic. Art in all its forms, with all of its might, was not one among them. Commonly categorized as public recreation, film festivals, and anything close to a public gathering was put on a worldwide halt albeit rightly in accordance with respective government policies. While safety was the core priority, there is no denying the massive loss of jobs, and closure of companies that has resulted in irrevocable changes. Emily J. Hoe, executive director of the Singapore International Film Festival notes the endless process of replanning through multiple obstacles, and testing out innumerable scenarios to deal with a high-stake crisis of unprecedented vigor.

A Clear Case of Chaos

With the case of a sudden halt for the foreseeable future, certain organizers of film festivals, like Cannes chose to cancel it right off the bat. A few others like Venice and Busan went onto take precautionary measures, thinned down the capacity, and went ahead with the process. The main element that producers and organizers were concerned to lose was really the spark and the buzz that is usually present around the instance of a film festival. With the investment of effort, time, and resources that goes into the process, a hesitance to shift to newer models, or perhaps even make a cancellation is a valid justification. Heavy conversations around the subject have opened the doors to re-examine what the film festival industry and culture are all about.

Adapting to a New Normal

With a pandemic that is extending to an undefined timeline, film festivals are making the choice to test possibilities for now. Toronto International film festival has taken steps to create a hybrid-limited in-person capacity, drive-ins, 2 person pods, and a possible digital screening. With trials on the side, such an opportunity has also revealed a silver lining-with technology, the reach could be widened, and the process could be interactive, wherein the audience could choose the setting that worked best for them. With the prevalence of OTT platforms, the transition could be, in fact, a smooth process.

About the Author:

Nandha Palani Dorai is a content writer and co-founding editor of Bluegraph Press, the literary print magazine & online portal for readers and writers from Indian and South Asia. She helps in elevating brand presence through her content, copy & brand identity design.

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