Festival Season 2022: Online vs. Offline

What will the 2022 festival season bring us? We'll try to find out in today's article.

Festival Season 2022: Online vs. Offline

Every year the filmmaking industry experiences a very important and exciting season - the season of festivals and awards. For all film lovers & nerds this is a great opportunity to re-discuss the hottest novelties of the past years, as well as to finally find out which film, director, cinematographer, composer, etc. was the best. So every year we look forward to this period and wait with bated breath for the announcement of all the winners among the many nominations. But as we all know, the coronavirus pandemic has made serious adjustments not only to everyone's lifestyle, but also to that of our beloved film industry. And although in two years we have been able to adjust to the rigors of the pandemic, we still can't enjoy award season to the fullest. The Golden Globe, Sundance Film festival, Berlin Film festivel, Vennice, Cannes, The Oscar are just some of the major ceremonies that have had to compromise for a safe event. Today we want to discuss the pros and cons of the new film festival formats. Join us.

But before we continue, we want to remind you that here we promote the love of art and try to inspire you to take your camera and make a short film. Leave the boring pre-production routine to the Filmustage - automatic script breakdown - and focus on your creativity!

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Art by @nadi_bulochka

What's going on anyway?

It won't come as news to you that another new mutation of the coronavirus, Omicron, is raging around the world. The scariest thing about this situation is that we are already used to this kind of thing. Bad news has already become commonplace, so all human activity has adjusted to the new reality: we have either moved to an online or to a hybrid format. That's what happened with film festivals.

Photo is made by Travis Wise (Source) and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

However, we could already see how the big film festivals were limited and successful right during the pandemic: the Cannes and Venice film festivals. And it even seems that the upcoming Berlin Film Festival will be held in the traditional live format. At least that's what the organizers themselves claim. Of course, they make a caveat that the in-person event will only be possible if the pandemic allows - the organizers reserve the right to change the regulations in order to hold a safe event.

It all sounds great, but no one really knows how it will be. Consider the example of the Golden Globes, a festival whose prestige is second only to the Oscars. The plans were ambitious, but the Golden Globes were mired in yet another scandal: the Hollywood Foreign Film Press Association (HFPA), which owns the Golden Globe Awards, was accused of internal corruption and that the composition of the association did not reflect equality, diversity and inclusion. As a result, the main sponsor, NBC, has refused to broadcast the awards ceremony; Netflix and Amazon have hastily severed their partnership with the ceremony; and many stars: Tom Cruise, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johannsen are boycotting and returning their awards. So the Golden Globes went on without an audience, without special guests, and without a host. All results regarding the winners were updated in live mode on the official website and social networks. In short, it seems to be the end for the Globes. It's very funny that at a time when the worst enemy is covid, we could lose one of the big events of awards season because of poor management.

All right, let's leave the Golden Globes behind and take a look at the most current example unfolding right now. The 2022 Sundance Film Festival, which for the second time in a row is taking place entirely virtually, is taking place between Jan. 20 and 30. The festival organizers dragged out the announcement of the online format until the last minute and the final decision became known on the eve of the start, January 5. Indeed, it's hard to blame the organizers of Sundance because they were caught in the middle of the most unpredictable virus that every year brings us new "surprises". Despite all the difficulties, Film Festival director Tabitha Jackson does not lose heart and simply says that we must "move forward". However, despite the general positive sentiment, we have a couple of arguments against online film festivals.

Photo is made by Zhifei Zhou (Unsplash)

First, once, before the pandemic, each of the film festivals created thousands of jobs and brought great profits to the industry: both financially and authoritatively. The sheer scale and formality of these events make us consider cinema as a big art and a big business. But with the move to online, much of the audience that was interested in following, not so much the movie, but the ceremony, dropped out. The online format did not offer a sense of celebration and exclusivity. And against the background of the general decline in interest in cinemas, it's as if it makes the situation even worse.

Secondly, physical festivals for young filmmakers, just like Sundance, are critical for talents and authors to learn about the industry. The in-person Sundance provides a lot of unforgettable knowledge and introductions. In addition, this knowledge and familiarity can prove very useful in the future. And the online format completely deprives young filmmakers of this opportunity to dive into the industry.

And thirdly, the cinematic experience itself suffers from the online format. This is especially evident among purely genre films, the best experience of which is achieved in the cinema, where you laugh, scare and cry along with the entire audience. That's what a film-theater experience should be.

As for other festivals, we can only be happy with the news from the organizers of the Berlin Film Festival 2022, because they report on the potential success of the in-person event. We believe and wait to see if they succeed. And the Oscars... There's still plenty of time before the Oscars, as the ceremony will be held in late March and we sincerely hope that it will be staged strangely.


It's really a very controversial topic of discussion, so we would be interested to hear your opinions on the festival season and its formats. As you understand, we are in favor of the old-school version: big halls, big auditoriums, pathos and beauty. It seems to us that this is a very important cultural phenomenon, which should come back offline, BUT as soon as the risks of the virus are minimized.

Take care and see ya next week!

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