Rethinking Film Festivals in the Pandemic Era and After

Marijke de Valck et al.

Omslag van het boek ‘Rethinking Film Festivals in the Pandemic Era and After’ (2023)

Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies Marijke de Valck recently published the book ‘Rethinking Film Festivals in the Pandemic Era and After’, which she edited with Antoine Damiens (York University). Twenty-five international authors collaborated on the publication. The collaboration began in 2020 and aimed to document and critically examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on film festivals, the disruption of the industry, and the resilience of film cultures as the crisis unfolded.

The impact of COVID-19 on film festivals

‘Rethinking Film Festivals’ explores how COVID-19 intervened in the film festival circuit by disrupting regular industry cycles and allowing new ways of reaching audiences to flourish. Films found other distribution channels, often online, while the festival format proved particularly vulnerable in a one-half-meter society. The search for a full-fledged substitute for live events and shared experiences involved all kinds of experimentation and an acceleration of digital developments that were already underway.

The book documents how different festivals in different local contexts were affected differently by the pandemic and reacted differently to it as well. At the same time, the case studies confirm the interconnectedness and transnational relationships inherent in globalised media systems. Finally, the book seizes the momentum of the crisis to make the case for sustainable interventions: festivals must address their ecological footprint, decolonise their organisations, and ensure that their history and heritage is safeguarded for the future.

The book is available in Open Access, thanks in part to support from Utrecht University’s Open Access Fund.