Rasha Salti surveys the changed landscape of film festivals forced to move online as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and questions what the future holds for an industry in which the opportunity for face-to-face contact serves as a raison d’être. Drawing upon her recent experience as a participant at the 2020 online editions of the documentary film festivals CPH: DOX, Visions du Réel, and Hot Docs, Salti assesses the pros and cons of their virtual format, from the reduced carbon footprint and absence of jet lag provided by virtual attendance to the loss of the special alchemy of in person meetings and the power of the “here and now.” Noting how film festivals are complicit in the collective destruction of the environment that the COVID-19 pandemic has made impossible to ignore, Salti urges a reconsideration of the paradigms that dictate how international coproduction film markets operate.
Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night: Film Festivals, Pandemic, Aftermath
Rasha Salti is a researcher, writer and curator of art and film based in Beirut and Berlin. She has co-curated programs on Arab, Syrian, and Lebanese cinema for Film at Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art (NY), and has worked as a programmer for the Abu Dhabi International Film Festival (2009–2010) and the Toronto International Film Festival (2011–2015) among others. At present she is the commissioning editor for the experimental documentary program “La Lucarne” for Arte France.
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Rasha Salti; Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night: Film Festivals, Pandemic, Aftermath. Film Quarterly 1 September 2020; 74 (1): 88–96. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fq.2020.74.1.88
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