Every industry has been hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, but few have been disrupted as quickly and thoroughly as the field of live events – as mass gatherings are ill-advised and illegal in many countries.
In Sweden, the Gothenburg Film Festival, which runs from January 29th to February 8th, has found a new way to get the most out of the fact that for the first time it’s all digital.
The organizers promote the festival by sending a handful of happy (or brave, depending on your ability to be lonely) movie fans to really isolated places.
One of these venues is extremely isolated: a lighthouse on a remote island in the vast North Sea, where the winner is sent to the 60 film premieres of the film festival for a week alone and without a mobile phone. The winner will be dropped off by boat with groceries and picked up after seven days.
The Pater Noster lighthouse is on the edge of an archipelago in one of Sweden’s most barren, windswept places. In return for a seat, the winner will create a video diary for the Göteborg Film Festival.
The festival also offers isolated screenings for one person each in the completely empty Scandinavium Arena and in the Draken cinema. Applications can be made online.
“The festival focus for 2021, ‘Social Distances’, examines the new world created in the wake of the pandemic and the role of film in this new world,” explained Jonas Holmberg, Artistic Director of the Göteborg Film Festival. “Creating isolated movie experiences for audiences by individuals in famous locations is one way to ensure absolutely safe festival screenings, but it’s also an attempt to process how the pandemic has changed people’s relationship with film.”
“The feeling of being completely alone in the Scandinavium arena or the Draken cinema is related to the changed relationship people now have with all the places that are normally full of activity but are now deserted,” he added added.
The film festival has explored other innovative, immersive audience experiences. In 2019, it invited fans to climb into a coffin to watch a science fiction film about isolation that has been dubbed the world’s most claustrophobic cinema experience.
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