synopsis: 2020 has definitely been a disruptive year for the short film festival ecosystem. The unexpected outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in March has forced the vast majority of organisations to postpone, move online or even cancel long time scheduled events. Many festival organisers immediately managed to quickly and successfully respond to this new situation and to adapt their events to an all online reality. Others, in order to make a hybrid or “on-site” version a viable option, chose to postpone the festivals hoping in more favourable epidemiological conditions from August onwards. Unfortunately, as the pandemic’s situation keeps evolving, organisers of events set to happen in the last three months of the year once again have had to face worse sanitary conditions. These rapid changes have created new challenges and issues that festival teams had to tackle, such as health safety measures or rethinking schedules and programming for a new event format. Although uncertainty for the upcoming 2021 season is still very much present and real, how will organisers prepare for it? How will past experiences and recently learnt expertise help shape the future short film festivals? What form will “real-life” events take? How will organisers be able to provide safe spaces? And at what cost? Will hybrid festivals still be prominent in the near future instead? And what does that mean for the film curators and distribution sector? Festivals of the Present, Festivals of the Future aims to answer to all these and other questions on the organisational issues, changes and challenges that the short film festival ecosystem is about to face in a post-pandemic world.
moderator: Emilia Mazik (Festival Director, Short Waves Festival)
panelists: Eroll Bilibani (Head of DokuLab, Dokufest), Lars Henrik Gass (Festival Director, Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen), Nina Rodrigues Lima (Director of Programming, Guanajuato International Film Festival)
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