Eastern European film festivals: streaming through the covid-19 pandemic

Hanzlík, Jan and Mazierska, Ewa Hanna orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-4385-8264 (2022) Eastern European film festivals: streaming through the covid-19 pandemic. Studies in Eastern European Cinema, 13 (1). pp. 38-55. ISSN 2040-350X

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/2040350X.2021.1964218


The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted virtually all domains of the film industry, from the production, through distribution to exhibition of films. As opposed to flourishing VOD platforms, cinemas have been hit particularly hard and with them film festivals, which had to choose between postponing their terms, becoming online or hybrid, or being cancelled altogether. The article focuses on festivals that either take place in Eastern Europe or are focused on the cinema of the region. It first briefly outlines the history of film festivals in Eastern Europe, then it summarizes the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on cinemas and VOD platforms and finally presents three case studies of festivals and their activities during the pandemic. The three festivals streamed at least some films from their programmes and endorsed other activities, such as online industry events, drive-in cinemas and Virtual Reality events. The study concludes that the degree to which film festivals could successfully take place during the pandemic depended more on the type of festival than on its geographical location or geographical focus. Eastern European festivals were not lagging behind the West in this respect and many European festivals were, in fact, cooperating and learning from one another.

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