How Film Festivals Survived the Quarantine

SHOTS
by Kristina Ustinova
25.07.2020
Film festivals were also caught off guard due to global changes associated with the coronavirus. One world-renowned film festival was able to preserve traditions even when switching to the online format, others were postponed or even canceled. Therefore, in this article you will learn how the coronavirus affected individual film screenings and how festivals solved the arising difficulties.
FESTIVAL IN LOCARNO
Adjusting to the circumstances of 2020, the organizers of the Festival in Locarno decided not to abandon their presence this year and to launch a unique program to support independent filmmakers. For the Future of Films is a program that focuses on those films which were suspended to comply with quarantine measures to combat Covid 19. The project was transferred to a digital environment that the traditional Locarno73 could not afford due to a violation of in this case, the general concept and spirit of the film festival. However, there will be significant support for the short films that will win in a separate competition for ten international and ten Swiss productions. Two Pardo 2020 awards worth CHF 140,000 will help overcome the quarantine crisis in filmmaking. Locarno 2020 itself was held from 5 to 15 August on a digital platform, free access to which was at least 1,590 viewers from all over the world. Moreover, it should be borne in mind that the short format of films, on the contrary, will allow the Festival to advance in the Internet environment. Besides, the Pardi di domani program will be expanded with audiovisual additions such as conversations with directors and other content. Together with its partners, Festival in Locarno is working to launch the screenings after Locarno 2020. So, despite the desire of the Festival in Locarno to preserve their traditions and abandon the full transition to the online environment, they organized a unique competition for short films to support independent filmmaking.
MIRROR FILM FESTIVAL
Under the conditions of compliance with quarantine measures, the annual Andrey Tarkovsky Mirror Film Festival was held completely online instead of the usual venue – the city of Ivanov. The 14th Film Festival was held from June 25 to June 30 at the TVZAVR Internet Cinema and was also broadcast on the local Bars TV channel. In terms of accessibility, all screenings, except for the premiere, could be seen for free. However, the number of films within the framework of the competition was reduced to seven: Without distinctive features (2020) (directed by Fernanda Valades), Cat in the Wall (2019) (directed by Vesela Kazakova, Mina Mileva), Nazir (2020) (directed by Arun Kartik), Lonely Rock (2020) (directed Alejandro Telemako Tarrafa), Babai (2020) (directed by Artyom Aisagaliev), Kala-Azar (2020) (directed by Janis Rafa) and, finally, Cook F*ck Kill (2019) (directed by Mira Fornay). It should be noted that the move to the Internet had a definite positive effect on the promotion of the Mirror outside the city of Ivanov. Residents of the whole country had the opportunity to watch the non-competitive program and the program of free events: creative meetings, thematic evenings and a daily Questions & Answers column with the creators of films. In addition, the willing public was able to participate in a live broadcast in the night online cafe. This vast entertainment program clearly attracted more users than the largest cinema hall could accommodate. According to the results of the jury's discussions, the main prize was awarded to Arun Kartik's film Nazir, for professional achievement (cinematography by Alberto Balash) – Argentine Lonely Rock by Alejandro Telemaco Tarraf, and for directing – the film Without Special Signs by Fernanda Valades. The jury was represented by major directors from all over the world: Rome, Moscow, Berlin, Sofia, Tel Aviv and others.
VENICE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
The coronavirus pandemic, surprisingly, did not affect the 77th Venice International Film Festival. The festival took place from 2 to 12 of September 2020. Alberto Barbera, artistic director of Mostra, announced the strict observance of sanitary standards to combat Covid 19 at the festival site. For these purposes, two additional open-air areas were opened, and the organizers also reduced the number of screenings, invited guests and accredited press. Online broadcasts were provided for journalists, which did not imply a trip to the Italian island of Lido and, thus, met the health requirements. The chairman of the international jury is Australian actress Cate Blanchett, who, according to Alberto Barber, is "not only an icon of modern cinema, which is filmed by the greatest directors <...>, but also a unique intellect and a sincere passion for cinema – ideal qualities for a president of the jury". It is worth noting that the "Venice Film Festival" was the first global large-scale event this year after the quarantine.
KINOTAVR
The 31st open Russian film festival Kinotavr also chose to postpone the festival from the first half of June to the period from 11 to 18 September 2020 in order to comply with the recommended security measures to combat coronavirus. In addition, the organizers of the festival announced in their official message the obligation of all participants and invited guests to comply with the sanitary and epidemiological recommendations of Rospotrebnadzor. At the same time, Kinotavr stated in the regulations that "the festival is not responsible for the health of the invited guests and participants". It was especially important for the film festival to preserve the traditions – not to go online and organize the event in Sochi as usual. Obviously, the number of entertainment programs and guests at the venues has been reduced. So, despite the circumstances that have arisen, Kinotavr has clearly stated its position to hold the festival in 2020.
CANNES INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
The 73rd Cannes International Film Festival, in turn, has come an even more difficult path than the rest – it went through several transfers in 2020. Finally, he decided not to betray tradition and to cancel film screenings so as not to compete with other international festivals that were postponed to September. But despite this, Cannes did not refuse to provide an abbreviated program for 2020. It included 56 films from 2067 qualifying applications and, in turn, a record for Cannes. At the same time, the competition itself will not take place, and, accordingly, the main award – Golden Palm will not be awarded. In addition to these innovations, the organizing committee of the film festival decided to change the structure of the program and introduce some rules that are unique for this format of events. So, the producers of the selected films were offered a choice: either to leave their motion picture on the Cannes list this year, or to refuse to participate with the right to return in 2021. In addition, Cannes provided the opportunity to participate in other qualifying rounds, but exclusively under the Cannes 2020 label. The second innovation was to change the structure of the program: it will not be divided into traditional sections. The principle will be as follows: first of all, there are permanent participants in Cannes, then beginners and already behind them – debutants of the film show. In addition to the main program, documentary and animated films were highlighted, as well as the only almanac Septet: A History of Hong Kong (2020).
Regardless of how film festivals have solved the problems associated with coronavirus, in general, they have managed to support independent film productions and allowed audience to find alternative opportunity to watch picture shows.
 
How Film Festivals Survived the Quarantine

SHOTS
by Kristina Ustinova
25.07.2020
Film festivals were also caught off guard due to global changes associated with the coronavirus. One world-renowned film festival was able to preserve traditions even when switching to the online format, others were postponed or even canceled. Therefore, in this article you will learn how the coronavirus affected individual film screenings and how festivals solved the arising difficulties.
FESTIVAL IN LOCARNO
Adjusting to the circumstances of 2020, the organizers of the Festival in Locarno decided not to abandon their presence this year and to launch a unique program to support independent filmmakers. For the Future of Films is a program that focuses on those films which were suspended to comply with quarantine measures to combat Covid 19. The project was transferred to a digital environment that the traditional Locarno73 could not afford due to a violation of in this case, the general concept and spirit of the film festival. However, there will be significant support for the short films that will win in a separate competition for ten international and ten Swiss productions. Two Pardo 2020 awards worth CHF 140,000 will help overcome the quarantine crisis in filmmaking. Locarno 2020 itself was held from 5 to 15 August on a digital platform, free access to which was at least 1,590 viewers from all over the world. Moreover, it should be borne in mind that the short format of films, on the contrary, will allow the Festival to advance in the Internet environment. Besides, the Pardi di domani program will be expanded with audiovisual additions such as conversations with directors and other content. Together with its partners, Festival in Locarno is working to launch the screenings after Locarno 2020. So, despite the desire of the Festival in Locarno to preserve their traditions and abandon the full transition to the online environment, they organized a unique competition for short films to support independent filmmaking.
MIRROR FILM FESTIVAL
Under the conditions of compliance with quarantine measures, the annual Andrey Tarkovsky Mirror Film Festival was held completely online instead of the usual venue – the city of Ivanov. The 14th Film Festival was held from June 25 to June 30 at the TVZAVR Internet Cinema and was also broadcast on the local Bars TV channel. In terms of accessibility, all screenings, except for the premiere, could be seen for free. However, the number of films within the framework of the competition was reduced to seven: Without distinctive features (2020) (directed by Fernanda Valades), Cat in the Wall (2019) (directed by Vesela Kazakova, Mina Mileva), Nazir (2020) (directed by Arun Kartik), Lonely Rock (2020) (directed Alejandro Telemako Tarrafa), Babai (2020) (directed by Artyom Aisagaliev), Kala-Azar (2020) (directed by Janis Rafa) and, finally, Cook F*ck Kill (2019) (directed by Mira Fornay). It should be noted that the move to the Internet had a definite positive effect on the promotion of the Mirror outside the city of Ivanov. Residents of the whole country had the opportunity to watch the non-competitive program and the program of free events: creative meetings, thematic evenings and a daily Questions & Answers column with the creators of films. In addition, the willing public was able to participate in a live broadcast in the night online cafe. This vast entertainment program clearly attracted more users than the largest cinema hall could accommodate. According to the results of the jury's discussions, the main prize was awarded to Arun Kartik's film Nazir, for professional achievement (cinematography by Alberto Balash) – Argentine Lonely Rock by Alejandro Telemaco Tarraf, and for directing – the film Without Special Signs by Fernanda Valades. The jury was represented by major directors from all over the world: Rome, Moscow, Berlin, Sofia, Tel Aviv and others.
VENICE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
The coronavirus pandemic, surprisingly, did not affect the 77th Venice International Film Festival. The festival took place from 2 to 12 of September 2020. Alberto Barbera, artistic director of Mostra, announced the strict observance of sanitary standards to combat Covid 19 at the festival site. For these purposes, two additional open-air areas were opened, and the organizers also reduced the number of screenings, invited guests and accredited press. Online broadcasts were provided for journalists, which did not imply a trip to the Italian island of Lido and, thus, met the health requirements. The chairman of the international jury is Australian actress Cate Blanchett, who, according to Alberto Barber, is "not only an icon of modern cinema, which is filmed by the greatest directors <...>, but also a unique intellect and a sincere passion for cinema – ideal qualities for a president of the jury". It is worth noting that the "Venice Film Festival" was the first global large-scale event this year after the quarantine.
KINOTAVR
The 31st open Russian film festival Kinotavr also chose to postpone the festival from the first half of June to the period from 11 to 18 September 2020 in order to comply with the recommended security measures to combat coronavirus. In addition, the organizers of the festival announced in their official message the obligation of all participants and invited guests to comply with the sanitary and epidemiological recommendations of Rospotrebnadzor. At the same time, Kinotavr stated in the regulations that "the festival is not responsible for the health of the invited guests and participants". It was especially important for the film festival to preserve the traditions – not to go online and organize the event in Sochi as usual. Obviously, the number of entertainment programs and guests at the venues has been reduced. So, despite the circumstances that have arisen, Kinotavr has clearly stated its position to hold the festival in 2020.
CANNES INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
The 73rd Cannes International Film Festival, in turn, has come an even more difficult path than the rest – it went through several transfers in 2020. Finally, he decided not to betray tradition and to cancel film screenings so as not to compete with other international festivals that were postponed to September. But despite this, Cannes did not refuse to provide an abbreviated program for 2020. It included 56 films from 2067 qualifying applications and, in turn, a record for Cannes. At the same time, the competition itself will not take place, and, accordingly, the main award – Golden Palm will not be awarded. In addition to these innovations, the organizing committee of the film festival decided to change the structure of the program and introduce some rules that are unique for this format of events. So, the producers of the selected films were offered a choice: either to leave their motion picture on the Cannes list this year, or to refuse to participate with the right to return in 2021. In addition, Cannes provided the opportunity to participate in other qualifying rounds, but exclusively under the Cannes 2020 label. The second innovation was to change the structure of the program: it will not be divided into traditional sections. The principle will be as follows: first of all, there are permanent participants in Cannes, then beginners and already behind them – debutants of the film show. In addition to the main program, documentary and animated films were highlighted, as well as the only almanac Septet: A History of Hong Kong (2020).
Regardless of how film festivals have solved the problems associated with coronavirus, in general, they have managed to support independent film productions and allowed audience to find alternative opportunity to watch picture shows.
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