Every industry has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, but few were as quickly and thoroughly disrupted as the live events field—given that mass gatherings are ill advised and, in many countries, illegal.
In Sweden, the Göteborg Film Festival—which runs from Jan. 29 to Feb. 8, has found a novel way to make the most of the fact that it is going digital-only for the first time.
Event organizers are promoting the festival by sending a handful of lucky (or brave, depending on your aptitude for solitude), film fans to truly isolated venues.
One of those venues is extremely isolated: a lighthouse on a remote island in the vast North Sea, where the winning guest will be sent for a week to watch the film festival’s 60 film premieres, alone—and without a mobile phone. The winner will be dropped off by boat with food supplies, and collected after seven days.
The Pater Noster lighthouse is perched at the edge of an archipelago in one of Sweden’s most barren, windswept locations. In return for a place, the winner will make a video diary for the Göteborg Film Festival.
The festival will also offer isolated film screenings for one person at a time at the entirely empty Scandinavium arena and the Draken cinema. Applications can be made online.
“The 2021 festival focus, ‘Social Distances,’ examines the new world that has emerged in the wake of the pandemic, and the role of film in this new world,” explained Jonas Holmberg, Göteborg Film Festival artistic director. “The creation of isolated film experiences for single-person audiences at iconic sites is a way of ensuring entirely safe festival screenings, but it is also an attempt to process how the pandemic has changed people’s relationships with film.”
“The sensation of being utterly alone in the Scandinavium arena or Draken cinema ties in with the altered relationship people now have to all those places that normally buzz with activity but are now deserted,” he added.
The film festival has explored other innovative, immersive audience experiences. In 2019, it invited fans to climb into a coffin to watch a sci-fi movie about isolation in what it dubbed as the world’s most claustrophobic cinema experience.
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