Former executive director of the Toronto International Film Festival Piers Handling said an online film festival is a solution to the problem, where only limited number of people can attend film festivals due to expensive tickets and sellouts, during his online keynote speech for Gangneung Forum, an event for the Gangneung International Film Festival (GIFF), held at the Lakai Sandpine Resort in Gangneung on Friday.
“Film festivals are as exclusive as religions, which allow you to have inside knowledge only when you become a believer. So I have always thought of new ways to include new audiences other than avid movie fans. An online film festival is a way to develop a local festival, which was only open to some audiences, into a global one,” said Mr. Handling. The GIFF, which opened on Thursday will be held both online and offline through Saturday.
Executive directors and organizers of international film festivals looked at the new situation film festivals face in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and discussed directions going forward at the virtual Forum, which was held under the theme, “Film Festivals in the Post-COVID-19 and New Normal Era.” “Film festivals around the world are seeking ways to survive in the COVID-19 era by cancelling festivals or holding them online. I’m hosting the event to share our experiences now that the survival of film festivals has become our mutual task,” said Kim Dong-ho, chairman of the Organizing Committee of GIFF. Eleven officials from overseas film festivals, including Mr. Handling attended the event online and six officials from domestic film festivals, including Lee Jun-dong, Director of the Jeonju International Film Festival, and Jeon Yang-jun, Executive Director of Busan International Film Festival, showed up at the venue.
Mr. Handling said film festivals will still have influence on the film industry even after the COVID-19. He went on to say that the key role of film festivals is to promote films by inviting them to film events and this leads to additional productions of the directors and investments, adding this role will still be important in the post-COVID-19 era and for independent films. As for the future of film festivals, where the purchase and sales of movies take place, Mr. Handling said, “A virtual film market was held for Toronto International Film Festival just like Cannes Film Festival. It will give small distributors, which cannot attend film festivals, more chances to sell films.”
Jae-Hee Kim firstname.lastname@example.org