Twenty film festivals from around the world are coming together for a virtual experience.

By Nick Romano
April 27, 2020 at 11:36 AM EDT
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Credit: John Phillips/Getty Images

Instead of a traditional film festival experience, YouTube is trying something new. Announced Monday, the video streaming platform partnered with 20 film festival organizations from around the world, including the Cannes Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival, to host an upcoming 10-day digital event.

Called We Are One: A Global Film Festival, the virtual fest will feature programming that probably would've screened during festivals if it weren't for all the coronavirus-prompted cancellations. The slate will run from May 29-June 7 and feature films, shorts, documentaries, music, comedy, and conversations. And it will all be free to watch on YouTube.

The slate will be curated by the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, Berlin International Film Festival, BFI London Film Festival, Cannes, Guadalajara International Film Festival, International Film Festival & Awards Macao (IFFAM), Jerusalem Film Festival, Mumbai Film Festival (MAMI), Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Locarno Film Festival, Marrakech International Film Festival, New York Film Festival, San Sebastian International Film Festival, Sarajevo Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Sydney Film Festival, Tokyo International Film Festival, TIFF, Tribeca Film Festival, Venice Film Festival, and more.

We Are One will support the World Health Organization and local relief organizations in each region of the participating film festivals. A list of the curated titles will be provided at a later time.

"We often talk about film's uniquely powerful role in inspiring and uniting people across borders and differences to help heal the world. All of the world needs healing right now,” said Tribeca Enterprises and Tribeca Film Festival co-founder and CEO Jane Rosenthal, who recently had to cancel the Tribeca festival due to coronavirus concerns. “We Are One: A Global Film Festival unites curators, artists, and storytellers to entertain and provide relief to audiences worldwide. In working with our extraordinary festival partners and YouTube we hope that everyone gets a taste of what makes each festival so unique and appreciates the art and power of film."

As the Hollywood industry continues to adapt to the rapidly changing landscape, Tribeca was one of the first festivals to offer a select number of its planned programming digitally. Stardust, a biopic about a 24-year-old David Bowie, held its world premiere on April 15 as a virtual experience. Writer-director Gabriel Range joined his cast members Johnny Flynn, Marc Maron, and Jena Malone in offering introductory remarks to press through a private Zoom link, after which digital screener copies were provided to media representatives for viewing.

Pierre Lescure and Thierry Frémaux of the Cannes Film Festival, another festival canceled because of the pandemic, said in a joint statement about We Are One, "We are proud to join with our partner festivals to spotlight truly extraordinary films and talent, allowing audiences to experience both the nuances of storytelling from around the world and the artistic personalities of each festival."

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