Pandemic cut film programmes by 22%, East West Index 2021 shows

In analysing the representation of different regions at documentary film festivals, new data from the East West Index 2021, was presented during the debate Back to “Normal”? at Marché du Film / Cannes Docs, which was co-organised by the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival and presented by Festival Director Marek Hovorka. The East West Index was launched in 2019 to point at the unbalanced representation of East European filmmakers at festivals in Western Europe and to follow the trends related to representation of other regions at European festivals – including Africa and Asia.

From data collected from 14 European film festivals in 2020 and 2021, most festivals cut the number of selected films in their programme. This reduction amounts to 22% in total (2,701 films in 2019 vs. 2,106 in 2020), with some of the film festivals in focus (including IDFA, DOK Leipzig, doclisboa, Krakow Film Festival, Dokufest Kosovo and more) having to reduce their programme even more. As a result, one in four or five films is missing from festival programmes.

The survey also showed that some European documentary festivals shifted their focus towards national or regional films to attract wider local audiences. This decrease in diversity may also be influenced by the financial situation of the entire festival sector which had already been challenged before the pandemic.

Download The East West Index 2021 – HERE

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