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Film festivals have always been cultural touchstones that showcase great art and allow us to connect over beautiful, dark, humorous, guerilla-crafted, lighthearted, or challenging pieces of cinema.

As the world suffered with Covid-19, it’s understandable why certain events had to be limited or postponed entirely. Unfortunately, film industries suffered from intensive consequences on an international level, but for those who really care about the cultivation of film history and culture, the temporary loss of our cherished film festivals served as a hard pill to swallow. Companies like Cineworx branched out and developed an integrated streaming platform so Film Festivals could live on.

Thankfully, the future of film festivals is now a topic we can begin to discuss with clarity, productivity and caution. But how are upcoming film festivals focusing on re-introducing their spaces, and to what degree will their programming resume?

Let’s discuss the future of film festivals in a Post Covid world:

Necessary Protections

While the true peak of the pandemic is starting to settle, thanks to a worldwide vaccination program, the risk is not near the zero mark. For this reason, many film festival managers (not to mention – local laws) feel it necessary to play it as safely as possible, keeping essential protective measures in place.

This will involve the use of mask-wearing, body temperature testing, social distancing (including in seated areas), and more. Some film festivals may choose to require proof of vaccination or be mandated by the local or federal government in the country in which it takes place. 

Striking, Unexpected Content

An international pandemic is not solely a technical, logistical and public health issue, but a cultural one as well. As such, you can expect to see how this once-in-a-lifetime experience has affected the cinematic content film festivals may be able to present. 

Some festivals may slate films that have been postponed due to understandable production delays; however, some up-and-coming filmmakers may use the cultural shift and the experiences it has brought with it to inform their art. While no film year is without its surprises and projects that well and truly break the mold, it’s wise to expect the unexpected and to keep your mind open.

Transitioning to the Online Space

Streaming services are nothing new. Streaming giants have served as the roll-out platforms for many big-budget films, with some using digital ticketing systems as a means of providing blockbuster movies to an audience that cannot – or choose not – to attend a theatre.

We can expect this trend to continue in upcoming film festivals, especially in the indie film festivals circuit where the idiosyncrasies of powerful directors hold little sway over event planning. 

Thankfully, Film Highway can make this transition to a fully-online, partially-online, or dual viewing experience seamless and enjoyable for all parties. This way, the future of indie films and breakthrough titles need not be hampered, and access can be provided to many more attendees. Additionally, adopting a reliable service like this isn’t a substitute, as partial viewing (both online and in-person) events are often reported to be more enjoyable and successful than the traditional event planning wisdom.

To conclude – film festivals are going nowhere. As long as there’s art to express and the tools to create cinema from it, festivals that welcome talent and fans will always be necessary. But with new integrations, new expectations, and the interest of providing a safe, enjoyable, accessible new normal, film festivals can reach more and perform better than they ever have.