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The post-pandemic future of Film Festivals

The future of film festivals is changing fast and has undoubtedly been spurred on more rapidly by the pandemic.



The Future of Film Festivals

“Medium of showcasing films keeps changing drastically, festival directors and creators of these events are putting more emphasis on art and storytelling than the venue”

The future of film festivals is changing fast and has undoubtedly been spurred on more rapidly by the pandemic. As the medium of showcasing films keeps changing drastically, festival directors and creators of these events are putting more emphasis on art and storytelling than the venue. Various popular festivals have shown last year that technology and innovation can be used to maintain or even enhance the creative experience of physical film festivals.


Is this really bad?


Social distancing during the last two years has put a lot of movie releases on hold. However, the film festival creators and directors came up with innovative methods of sharing films virtually, so that the audience can all view these together, even if in separate venues. Two of the largest film festivals, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and the Venice Film Festival led the way in this, by recreating the film festival experience, using virtual reality. Venice even introduced immersive mini interactive worlds in their official selection and competition sections. Within the first couple of days, there were 5,000 visitors to their virtual events.


Stun Your Audience

“(The drive-ins) took the New York Film Festival to brand new audiences. The devastating pandemic has forced so many arts organizations to rethink how we connect new movies with audiences, and drive-ins are a beautiful, communal opportunity to do just that.”

For those movie-lovers who cannot let go of the physical screening experience, drive-in screenings have proved to be an effective solution. Drive-in movie theatres used to be quite popular back in the 60s and 70s, and that culture is now being revived through drive-in pop-ups. These drive-ins saved the New York Film Festival, according to Eugene Hernandez, who runs the festival. The event is generally held at the Lincoln Center. He said, “(The drive-ins) took the New York Film Festival to brand new audiences. The devastating pandemic has forced so many arts organizations to rethink how we connect new movies with audiences, and drive-ins are a beautiful, communal opportunity to do just that."


A Hybrid Future for Film Festivals


New storytelling mediums like Video games and VR are being incorporated by the film festivals. Online festival viewing, even when undertaken at the highest level by Sundance 2020, has yet to yield the same impact as that of physical screenings. However, these innovative screenings have proved to be constructive for film festival experiences. In a post-pandemic world, people would want to go back and flock to the theatres for live screenings. The major festivals have already planned their physical return, but according to several festival creators, we are looking at a hybrid future for film festivals.


 

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