By MICHAEL GINGOLD
As the coronavirus pandemic throws the international festival circuit into upheaval, the people behind Montreal’s Fantasia have announced that this year’s event is going digital.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, this year’s Fantasia International Film Festival will be a virtual screening event, taking place August 20-September 2. The Fantasia team will use the Festival Scope and Shift72’s virtual screening platform, which incorporates top visual quality and security standards, to present real-time on-line world and international feature-film premieres.
“While we’re saddened not to be able to put on the larger-than-life physical event that we’d been planning for this year, we’re extremely excited to be working with Festival Scope and Shift72 on an unconventional virtual edition,” says Fantasia co-director Mitch Davis. “They’ve enthusiastically embraced every challenge we’ve thrown their way, particularly when it comes to making so many of our screenings be real-time, live events instead of the usual streaming approach. It’s going to make things so much more exciting and will go a long way toward keeping the intensity and engagement of the in-person experience vibrant in an online realm.”
Thanks to the high security offered by the platform, Fantasia will be able to host a number of major genre premieres that might have been inaccessible to other virtual fests. Many of the screenings will include live filmmaker Q&As that remote viewers will be able to take part in, and the Fantasia jury will still be judging movies and deliberating on-line to select the winners. A limited number of tickets, probably between 600 and 1,200 per movie, will be sold for each film, and will be geo-restricted to people with Canadian IP addresses. The first wave of titles will be announced in late May; keep your eyes on the fest’s official website for more info.