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AFIC investigation: What is the future of online festivals?


- The Italian Film Festival Association is launching a research project, with an elaboration of models and proposals that will be presented in March 2021

AFIC investigation: What is the future of online festivals?

The health crisis has forced film festivals across the world to reinvent their offers in 2020, reorganising themselves in innovative ways through online editions, live festivals and hybrid formats. In order to verify the response that such a revolution of cultural promotion has had in Italy, and to elaborate models and reflections on the future of the system, the AFIC (Italian Film Festival Association) has launched a research project titled “Festival platform: investigation on the future of film events.”

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With the support of the Cinema and Audiovisual General Direction of the MiBACT and the collaboration of the company Atlantica Digital, the research project will allow for the collection of data relating to the Italian film festival scene to reconstruct how film events have confronted this unprecedented scenario.

The project’s first step is an articulated questionnaire aimed primarily at actors in the sector – the festival organisers – which has been launched to both the over 80 realities present at AFIC and to all the Italian festivals that want to participate in this exceptional structural survey. The next steps will consist of targeted focus groups, field research and an elaboration of models and proposals that will be presented next March in a workshop open to all interested parties, from auteurs to producers, journalists to critics, exhibitors to press offices. The answers to the initial questionnaire must be received by 20 December.

“The concept of the film festival now goes back to 1932, the date of the first Venice Film Festival,” said Giorgio Gosetti and Federico Pommier, who are coordinating the project. “The transformations registered over almost a century have certainly emphasised festivals’ roles as promotional vehicles for the whole cinema industry and for the development of cultural research. The COVID-19 emergency has undoubtedly shuffled the cards and pushed everyone towards a dynamic reflection on the future. The goal of this initiative by AFIC is to photograph the existing reality, the potential and criticality of the events on digital platforms, but most of all to elaborate projects and models that are adequate for a future that we don’t want to exclude from the heart of our events: the direct and participatory experience of a film community that gets together in the cinema to share an experience that remains unique and irreplaceable.”

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