TCM Classic Film Festival and more fests go virtual amid coronavirus outbreak
Coming soon to a couch near you…
If you've always dreamed of attending a film festival but haven't been able to yet, well, now you can — from the comfort of your own home.
As movie theaters around the world shutter and all sorts of public events are forced to cancel or postpone due to the coronavirus pandemic, some film festivals are opting to go virtual. On Tuesday, Turner Classic Movies announced that it will offer a "special home edition" of its annual Classic Film Festival from April 16 to 19, covering the same dates as the scrapped Hollywood gathering.
In a promo video, TCM prime-time host Ben Mankiewicz bills it as a "remote, stay-the-heck-at-home celebration of classic film festival movies and moments from the past decade presented on TCM." The virtual festival will feature film screenings as well as special interviews and segments from the last 10 years of the event.
"It's a long weekend of films that have screened at the festival, plus special guests and rare clips of festival moments and other gems from the TCM archives," Mankiewicz says. The full programming schedule can be viewed at the festival website. The network has also pledged to share some of the clips and special moments on YouTube and social media.
And Turner Classic Movies isn't the only party bringing the festival experience to moviegoers stuck at home. Here are some more:
Annapolis Film Festival: This Maryland Film Festival slated for March 27-29 is offering attendees access to an Annapolis Film Festival channel they've set up for the same dates, where many of the scheduled films will screen. This includes everything from narrative features to documentaries to shorts.
Greenwich International Film Festival: This Connecticut festival is moving online May 1-3. It will include a selection of films as well as online interviews with talent and a chance to vote for the JP Morgan Chase Audience Award. The schedule and info on how to buy passes can be found here.
Garden State Film Festival: This New Jersey film festival has shifted online for March 25-29. Organizers have pledged to honor film screening tickets for 2021, but they've also moved their entire slate online to a live stream available to pass holders via a private server. More than 240 films will be available to stream over five days.
Thin Line Festival: This Denton, Texas, festival has canceled its music events but moved its film and photography components online for March 25-29.
Marché du Film: While the Cannes Film Festival has been postponed, this component of it, essential to selling films to prospective buyers, is likely to continue in a virtual format. Occurring alongside Cannes since 1959, the Marché is a film market that provides a meeting point for producers, distributors, sales agents, and programmers. It may use Zoom, the existing platform Match&Meet, and more to ensure the market continues.
Though not all festivals have opted for a virtual component, some have turned to digital platforms to conduct the awards component of their proceedings. The Miami Film Festival, which was canceled mid-run, completeld its judging and awards process through virtual means. Similarly, SXSW, which was one of the first major festivals to face cancelation, made screening links available to jurors and still gave out all but its audience award.
This is a developing story and will be updated if and when additional festivals follow suit.
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