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We Are One Global Film Festival: a pandemic solution

ART & CULTURE

WE ARE ONE Global film festival c. YouTubeIn the face of the global Coronavirus pandemic and the cancellation of large events, major film festivals across the world have joined with YouTube to announce the We Are One Global Film Festival. It started on 29 May and we can still all take part in the screenings (Until 7 June)!

The 10-day digital festival, produced and organized by Tribeca Enterprises, features programming from twenty festivals including Berlin International Film Festival, Cannes, Venice,Annecy International Animation Film Festival, BFI London, Sundance, Sydney, Tokyo International Film Festival, Toronto and many more. It immerses audiences in stories from around the world and provided a voice for filmmakers on a global stage.

Every year, at Cannes - and other festivals - there’s a plaintive argument about what film festivals are really all “about”. Some will dash the glass of rosé out of your hand, throw your canape into the Mediterranean and tell you Cannes is not about the red-carpet, not about stars preening in the flashbulb glare of celeb-worship; not about L’Oréal sponsorship, not about the million late-night parties. It’s about the movies, about cinema itself. Of course, it is. Core to the DNA of film festivals is the belief that artists and creators have the power to bring people together and create meaningful connections during a time when the world needs it most. That’s what We Are One offers: a 10-day online festival, curated by Jane Rosenthal of the Tribeca Film Festival, featuring arthouse films streaming for free in return for an optional donation to the World Health Organization’s Covid-19 fund.

Just you, in your bedroom, with your TV, communing with cinema.

After all, streaming is what has kept cinema alive for the past few months and new films were released for solely for streaming during the worldwide lockdown. The cinema experience has soldiered on to showcase smaller movies that wouldn’t normally have this opportunity. With films from over 35 countries, the festival included the world premieres of: 

  • “Ricky Powell: The Individualist”, which spotlights the legendary street photographer, featuring interviews with Natasha Lyonne and LL Cool J.
  • “Eeb Allay Ooo!” will make its online debut and introduce a whole new audience to New Delhi’s professional “monkey repellers”. The satirical film won Mumbai Film Festival’s Golden Gateway Award.
  • The iconic Joan Chen (“Twin Peaks”) will present the world premiere of “Iron Hammer”, a documentary about legendary, trailblazing Chinese Olympic volleyball star, Jenny Lang Ping.

There are also a lineup of specially-curated talks from past festivals as well as new discussions with Francis Ford Coppola with Steven Soderbergh, Song Kang-ho and Bong Joon-ho, Guillermo del Toro, Jane Campion and Claire Denis.

In addition to features, audiences will be able to access the world premiere of Japanese narrative short “Yalta Conference Online” which was created exclusively for the fest by director Koji Fukada and the global premiere of the Third Eye Blind docu-short “Motorcycle Drive By” as well as shorts from Dreamworks Animation, Bilby, Marooned and Bird Karma.

360 VR selections will feature Emmy-nominated documentary “Traveling While Black and Alteration”, a sci-fi narrative starring Bill Skarsgard, as well as titles featuring John Legend, Oprah Winfrey and Lupita Nyong’o.

This new festival format could be a new way for people to engage with cinema. But in the end, after this is all over, I believe people will want to go back to the flesh and blood experience of the cinema; to see the films on the big screen and feel that sense of occasion that is a vital curatorial tool for focusing minds on a new release. And as for film festivals - people love to talk about the films they just saw - talk about them over coffee, over lunch, in the street outside the theatre. That is, after all, the true festival experience.

If you want to partake in the We Are One Global film festival, visit the We Are One Youtube channel:  https://www.youtube.com/WeAreOne

- Alexa Bouhelier-Ruelle