That form of collaboration is bound to proceed. Hernandez remained moved by it. “There was already a camaraderie that existed among this unique world of people who go to film festivals,” he stated. “But as someone who’s been going for almost 30 years now, I never felt it as close to the heart as I did this past year.” Hernandez mentioned concepts with Toronto’s co-heads, Cameron Bailey and Joana Vicente, whose competition additionally took a unique flip final yr. (Bailey and Vicente couldn’t communicate by press time due to household holidays.)
The casual assist group made bumps within the highway much less scary, however there have been nonetheless surprises, some which haven’t totally performed out. The Berlinale, celebrating its 71st edition, opted for a two-part construction, sharing its digital screenings with the press and distributors in February, however saving potential in-person viewers screenings for June. Carlo Chatrian, Berlin’s inventive director, remains to be ready to know how his program will play with a crowd. “On Twitter, the comments are always overwhelmingly positive, which is good,” he jokes. “But at the same time, you ask: What is the truth?”
A Sundance collection of Los Angeles-based drive-in screenings needed to be deserted on the final minute (together with untold hours of spent labor), a casualty of the unpredictable coronavirus in transit. “That was a time when I could almost shake my fist at the gods,” Jackson stated, fuming. And even when the drive-ins did occur, like New York’s elegant Queens night with Wong Kar-wai’s “In the Mood for Love,” flat parking tons had been unconducive to studying subtitles.
“It was a beautiful experience,” Hernandez confirmed. “That said, I had to move my car twice to reposition. There was a little slope, a hill, at the back. We started calling it the balcony. If you were parked up on that hill, you’d get an even better vantage point.”
Still, having survived their annus horribilis, the movie festivals seem reworked for good. “Being in the Bronx and Queens and Brooklyn last year was the beginning of something, not an interim solution,” Hernandez stated. “If the biggest outcome of 2020 was that, in 2021, we went back to the way things were, that would feel like a failure to me. Now we have a little more confidence because we’ve done it once. We have the battle scars, too.”
“Things evolve,” Pierson says. “Things don’t go back. Every year, we approach our work with: What makes sense now? What I personally liked best was that we were able to deliver on the South-by-Southwest-ness of it all. Somehow, we were able to deliver that on one screen, through one portal.”