INDUSTRY A collection of documentary industry veterans discuss a topic that has been on the minds of many of us: In this new era, how will festival policies change?
Lauren Wissot
Lauren Wissot is a US film critic and journalist, filmmaker and programmer, and a contributing editor at both
Published date: May 13, 2020

«Will our world ever be the same after this crisis?» moderator/IDFA artistic director Orwa Nyrabia asked via live stream to the likewise virtually-attending panelists at this year’s (digital) Docudays UA DOCU/CLASS «Force majeure has happened – and it’s global. How will festival policies change now?» The doc industry vet’s opening question is one that’s been on the minds of many of us. (At least here in the West. Among the many surprising things the pandemic has revealed is the extent to which other populaces – such as the Ukrainians who host Docudays UA – have taken this global crisis with a grain of salt. Yet one more uncertainty in their eternally unstable world.)

First to tackle the question was Tine Fischer, CPH:DOX’s founder and festival director, who was adamant that the world will never be the same – something she hoped for. We as citizens «have changed at the speed of light,» Fischer pointed out, and she now felt a heavy «responsibility» to continue on that trajectory. «I hope and believe the world will never be the same after COVID-19,» she declared.

That said, Fischer did express skepticism that online screenings will ever replace the theatrical experience. Simply put, arthouse films are developed for the arthouse experience – they need to be seen there. She would always «defend the institution of cinema.» In turn, Fischer was thankful that digital showings have broadened the CPH:DOX audience – something which will be of great importance in the future. Not all films require the big screen, she conceded. A film about AI, for example, could probably play even better online. Indeed, Fischer envisioned a «hybrid» fest for the future (which is, perhaps, not all that surprising …

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