Saturday, December 2, 2023

Film festival adapts with shorter schedule, free online showings

Like many organizations forced to adapt and evolve due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Morelia International Film Festival will be carrying on in its 18th year, but with various concessions.

The festival, renowned for its international connections with the Cannes festival and other European film organizations, will be a hybrid affair this year, with a combination of virtual and live events.

The festival will also be shorter than usual, taking place October 28–November 1. In addition, there will be fewer venues this year, with showings only in Cinepolis theaters in Morelia, according to festival press director Daniela Michel.

“It’s been much more difficult than other years to organize this festival, but we are very clear that the mission is to support Mexican filmmakers,” she said. “We have worked so hard to make this possible.”

Highlights of this year’s festival, including showings of films from around the world, include three film premieres and a restored version of director Alejandro González’s Amores Perros, as well as showings of Oscar contenders Ammonite starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan and Nomadland, starring Frances McDormand and David Strathairn.

It is often said that in challenges are found opportunities. Festival organizers are taking that maxim to heart, seeing the necessity to put on a partially virtual event as a call to make the festival more available to the public than in previous years.

“Festivals at times end up being only for the professionals, those who can obtain accreditations [to attend],” Michel said. “What we have done [this year] is make the festival be as open as possible so that the whole public can attend free digitally. We continue having our association with the Cannes Festival, with the International Critics’ Week at Cannes, with the French embassy, with the Goethe Institute [of Germany], and new this year, with the Televisa Foundation [in Mexico], the UNAM Film Library, and the National Cineteca, showing classic Mexican cinema.”

All this being said, however, Michel stressed that nothing will ever replace the festival’s commitment to live events, once a vaccine has been found and life can go back to normal.

“I believe that there are unique experiences that only can happen at a festival, and those festivals need to have contact with people and the interaction of the cinematic community. This [pandemic] is an unfortunate ‘parentheses’ happening in the world right now.”

Source: Sensacine (sp)

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