HOW THE CORONAVIRUS IS AFFECTING FILM FESTIVALS

HOW THE CORONAVIRUS IS AFFECTING FILM FESTIVALS

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(Originally published on March 29, 2020; updated May 21, 2020.)

Thousands of film festivals take place around the world each year, more than the two most Americans have heard of: Sundance and Cannes.

The coronavirus threatens the festivals, their organizers, the communities in which they are held, and the filmmakers whose films they have selected or might have selected.

Some festivals are cancelling their 2020 editions. Others are rescheduling to summer, fall, winter, or next year. Some may never be held again. Some may have screened my films.

On March 20th the Rome Cinema DOC, which features short films and documentaries, was scheduled to release the names of this year’s award-winning films. My documentary, “Cuba, Libre?,” which has been in 54 festivals and won 17 awards to-date, was a finalist for the festival’s “Best International Documentary” award. 

It is now March 29th. No word from Rome Cinema DOC. No updates on its Website or Facebook page.

Over 10,000 have died in Italy due to COVID-19.

For the sake of the families of those who run it, I hope that the organizers of Rome Cinema DOC are not among them.

(Update, May 21, 2020. Many film festivals scheduled for 2020 have now cancelled there “in-theater” programming in favor of online viewing. This IndieWire.com article, “Film Festivals Aren’t Just Surviving Online, They’re Creating a Better Future,” explains why online festivals may provide better opportunities for filmmakers and better viewing options for festival “attendees.”)


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