Think back to a memory of watching a movie in theatres. The smell of buttery popcorn and the sound of candies being shaken into hands. The feeling of soft chairs slowly reclining, the lights dimming, and the surround sound intensifying.
Look around in this memory, there are people everywhere. You hear their laughter and crying throughout the film and you watch them become consumed by the story.
Everyone is experiencing their own moment in time but united together by a film in a specific location.
Now imagine this feeling on a global scale. People from multiple countries across the world watching a movie together and being able to discuss and challenge ideas.
FLEFF does exactly this and has been for the past 24 years and includes, according to Wang, “people involved in making films, those who evaluate them, those who sell them, and those who organize events, socialize, and watch films.” All of these individuals are what make up a film festival and are the reason discussions become impactful.
However, this year is different with the entire festival being held virtually. It introduces new challenges since people will not be able to have the benefit of experiencing films with other people and get a true sense of their emotions/passion.
Other festivals have gone 100% virtual and faced challenges as well. VR Film Festival went all virtual and struggled to find a way to universally have VR without being in person. To solve this problem the festival launched a Netflix-like streaming platform for people to view and engage in VR.
Being completely virtual brings advantages since people from all over the globe can experience films and engage in discussions that would not be possible without a virtual festival